|Awareness at Attukal|
Billed by Guinness World Records as the single largest gathering of women in the world, a staggering four million devotees are to cook offerings as part of the famous Attukal Pongala festival at Trivandrum. Attukal Pongala is an annual congregation of women to offer Pongala - an offering of boiled rice in earthern pot - during the Malayalam month of Kumbham (February-March). Attukal Pongala has become a symbol of devotion and dedication to Devi, the Mother goddess and above all a celebration of womanhood.
It is a mega event with 10 days of continuous celebration culminating on the pongala day. There are lots of petty shops selling variety of items at the site. Such a gathering will always have its exploitative side. We can see children being made use of as child labourers to sell different articles to the devotees. There are many children trafficked and made to work as cheap labour. As the place is a huge gathering of women, it is also a place for CHILDLINE to conduct some awareness campaign.
This year too we have erected a stall to conduct awareness raising campaign among the devotee women on the issues facing children. Hundreds flock to the stall to get to know the services rendered by CHILDLINE towards children in need of care and protection. Any missing complaints regarding children who come to the celebration are also taken up by CHILDLINE.
The pongala celebration is a time at Don Bosco Veedu to impart awareness among the public on issues facing children. Strong interventions to thwart exploitative conditions facing children are also carried out during the time.