Vadodara: Eight months ago, a five-year-old girl went missing when she was playing near the slums in Samta area. She is yet to be traced. Her parents didn’t even have her photograph making it difficult to search for her.

A similar incident occurred in the same area about 10 days ago when another five-year-old girl staying in the slums went missing when she was playing outside her house.

Though her parents had her photograph, they couldn’t describe other details to the police. Concerned over the incidents, a city-based NGO has begun a project to document children staying in the slum areas. “Usually the kids staying in slum areas play near the roads or in open plots. The possibility of them being kidnapped is more and if the parents don’t even have a photo of their kid, it becomes almost impossible to carry out search operation,” said Heena Raval of Sneh Foundation that has undertaken the project.

“We decided to take photographs of all children up to the age of 15 years. Sheetal Parikh from our NGO took individual pictures of 90 children from slums in Samta area along with their height, weight and other details. The details will be properly documented and given to their parents. If some unfortunate incident of kidnapping happens, at least they will have all the details of their children. We will also a keep a soft copy if it,” Raval told TOI and added that they will cover the other slums in coming months.

The social activists are also organizing awareness programmes in the slums to educate parents of how to keep their children safe. “We are also educating the children of how to keep themselves safe, not stray around and not talk with strangers. The police officials too have agreed to help us in the initiative,” Raval said. The NGO that provides education and nutritious food to slum kids learnt about the missing children’s cases during an event they had organized few weeks ago.

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