By Amal Farooq Malik (Age 9 years)
On Saturday 1st December I went to visit the Children Complaint Office (CCO) Ombudsman Punjab with my mother and sister Dina. The building was grey and not as I imagined it would be like. I had imagined it as a colorful building with pictures of children on the walls wearing bright clothes because it was a children’s complaint office but instead it was grey and white and it looked like an office for grownups. I met Mr. Umar Rasul who is the Secretary Provincial Ombudsman Punjab. He was very helpful in explaining things. I asked him questions like:
Q. What kind of children’s problems do you solve?
Mr. Umar Rasul: We solve problems of health and education like if someone does not have enough money to pay for school or to go to the hospital or buy food they can come to us. And if they have a complaint about these things then they can tell us about it.
Q. Do a lot of children come to children complaint office?
Mr. Umar Rasul: No, not many children come here but parents do. Some parents don’t tell everything that’s happening, so that’s why we put complaint drop boxes for children in more than 300 schools. Once a week someone from the office comes to the schools and collects the complaints from the box, brings it to the office and we see the problems and try to fix them.
Q. When did you get the idea of making the children complaint office?
Mr. Umar Rasul: UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) inNew York contacted us and said let’s make a children complaint office. So we all made the children complaint office together in 2009.
When we got out of his office we went into Mr. Ehsan’s office. Mr. Ehsan Ghani is the Project Focal Person. When I went in to his office he showed us some videos and the website of the CCO. I also met Mrs. Dureshahwar who was the only lady there. She is a Research Officer. At the end Mr. Ehsan came in and gave us two books on Allama Iqbal as presents.
I was happy that I went there because they help children solve their problems. If children have a problem they can go to the CCO and they don’t have to go to the court where it takes hours and hours to solve a small problem. There should be a colorful room for the kids to come to at the CCO so that they feel happy and not worried because of their problems. All the SEPLAA YLC volunteers and I can one day make colorful pictures for the walls of the CCO so that it looks more welcoming to children. And one day we can even make little gifts to give out in the CCO!
Interviewing Mr. Umar Rasul was fun because I felt like a little reporter.
We should spread the word about places like the CCO because the people who work there, work really hard to help the children who have problems and not many children or their parents know about this. I would like to have a CCO complaint box in the SEPLAA YLC office so that children who come here can share their problems through us with the CCO.
This Report was written by Amal after getting detailed information sessions at both the Children Complaint Office as well as the SEPLAA Young Leaders’ Club. Photography by Dina Farooq Malik and Amal’s mother.