BKR

The Colours of Childhood

Bachpan ke Rang is a small function that is held in Rajabajar, Kolkata by CRY – Child Rights and You. It is organised for the kids from different schools in the Rajabajar community who come and participate in this event. They play  certain games prepared by CRY volunteers and participate in sessions on art and craft. A bit of dancing, singing and play acting is also roped in that eventually gives a message. The main aim of this event is to ensure that the kids have a lot of fun. All the volunteers give in their 100% to make this event a success. This year as an intern I got the opportunity to be a part of the event and I experienced how in spite of a lot of difficult situations the kids who came to the event really enjoyed themselves.

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Purbita

The More You Give, The More You Get

I always wanted to do as much as I could to give back to the society I live in. So when the opportunity of volunteering first presented itself to me, I  jumped at it immediately. But one can never really know what volunteering is actually like until one involves oneself into it. Even though I am a newcomer to this activity and only have just close to two months of experience, I would like to share my thoughts on my journey so far.

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tutoring the teachers

Tutoring the teacher

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
― William Arthur Ward

Teaching is the noblest profession of all. It is thus, unfortunate, that monetary covetousness has begun to tinge it. However, there still are few people who teach out of passion, and out of sheer dedication. They do it out of the goodness of their hearts and empathy towards the kids. They are a rarity though- and CRY volunteers step up to take up this mantle of the good Samaritans.

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Zeeshan

Crossing Over!

It’s 10 already and the volunteer intervention area at Razabazaar is gearing up for the weekend sessions. In some time the energy of the whole place will change. The children will start chirping, their excitement will mix with the volunteers’ enthusiasm. There will be fun and frolic for which  the children wait eagerly all week.

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IMG_6207

Menstruation – A Taboo No More. Period.

A schoolgirl once stained her uniform whilst on her period. The boys in her class looked on and laughed. She laughed too, at how very naive they were…

Menstrual blood is typically the only source of blood that isn’t induced traumatically. Why then is it such a sensitive issue in a society like ours where child abuse is talked about freely but god forbid someone brings up menstruation during conversation!

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Anwesha

I Volunteered For A Journey…

I am a survivor of clinical depression. I confess.

I screamed at my parents, every day, every hour. I confess.

I blacked out during my first year college exams. I confess.

Shaggy hair. Unchanged clothes. Ugly crying through the night. Pills swallowed and a blade hidden under my mattress. I confess.

It was scary. It was grotesque. It was madness. I confess.

Though that changed. Not over a day. Not over a single mail. Not over a single orientation. It took a week, a few months and a couple of years.

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satyam iit kgp

That’s how we do it!

Working for society changes you into a much more grounded individual. Our motive is to wish to bring about social change of some sort. My 3 years’ experience as a volunteer at CRY IIT Kharagpur Chapter, which had regularly attracted local resources and successfully implemented its initiatives of School Drop Out Enrolment, Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Workshop, Medical Camp, Career Counselling, School Sessions, Community Meetings, Child Labour Survey and many more, taught me that a ‘high-principled’ team allows an organization to achieve maximum efficiency with minimum resources. We are very sensitive to the organization’s public image, its internal rules, and the tasks set for them, but the results of  our work justify the time and effort involved in doing so. We encourage each other to take initiatives.READ MORE

sana

An internship that changed my life!

I am Sana Mushtaq Zargar from the School of Law, University of Kashmir and the lush green, peace loving valley of Jammu and Kashmir.

My internship at CRY was my first ever internship. I’ve made a lot of memories during the journey of my internship but one of my most memorable projects in my internship was when I had to visit the children from CRY project intervention areas who were being trained at the Border Security Forces (BSF) training center on various courses. At the training center, I was delighted to see such happy faces and couldn’t wait to have a word with them. We had to document 5 initiatives which included courses like cooking, plumbing, tailoring, computers and electricity department.

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Abhinav

All in a day’s work!

Abhinav Parashar, a 24 year old hard working software engineer at Century Link Ltd during the day and a passionate volunteer at CRY during the night, is no less than a superhero for the under privileged kids in Vaishali. He has been teaching these kids every day after his office hours for almost a year. And in this short duration of time he has matured immensely and won the hearts of the kids. This short journey is no less than a roller coaster ride for him and his team, facing every challenge head on and standing firm throughout are the basic pillars to their group.. He believes that children are the vital part for a greater future and they should have a positive and healthy attitude towards life, this would lead to lower crime rates and one day it will eradicated all forms of crime from the face of earth.

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shubham

From Darkness to Light with Adequate Funding and Support

Shivam, lovingly known as Shubham, is a dedicated young student from KunchiKurve Nagar near Kalina in Mumbai.

He was about to quit education and therefore give up his chance to a better life when he got his eye hurt while playing with his siblings. He took care of it by going to the nearby dispensary where he was prescribed an eye drop. His condition deteriorated but Shubham and his family were optimistic that within a matter of time, the pain would subside so he resumed his daily activity of going to school.

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CSA

Breaking the Silence Around Child Sexual Abuse with a Non Profit Organisation

Innocence is beautiful; it is sometimes also vulnerable, like a small new bloom. It is indeed disgraceful and inhuman when this innocence is vandalized.

Children personify beautiful hearts which have known nothing but love and liveliness, their giggles which resonate their free spirits and their endless laughter which can make one let go of their worries. They are a treasure and they should only be handled with tenderness and endearment.

It is indeed disheartening that some fail to understand the same and they have no hesitation in harming such happy souls. In a world which encompasses a lot of danger, we aim towards cocooning them into a shell which is safe and invulnerable. It is a cocoon from where they will blossom into beautiful butterflies. All we want for them is to breathe in a safe world, a world where they believe in themselves and they believe in the power within.

To make them aware about one certain societal sin – CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE (CSA), we, volunteers of the IIT Kharagpur chapter of CRY, a non profit organisation conducted numerous workshops under the “Project Baalrakshak”. Not only to make them aware but also to help them fight it, to bring them to talk about it to their close ones and to ultimately make them understand that it was NO fault of theirs if they had faced something of that sort. The workshop on child abuse was carried out amongst students of different age groups. Recently kids from Class V to Class VIII were addressed in different batches at “Hiradi Kesiasole M.S.K” an upper primary school located about 4 kms from IIT Kharagpur campus.

CSA is a sensitive issue to deal with and talk about. To make kids understand about what CSA actually embodies is difficult but Rajarshi Debnath, our energetic volunteer, reached out to the kids very delicately.

It was really warming to see how he started talking about simple words like “Danger” and “Safe” and how he blended those with the different lights of Traffic Signals. Subtlety being of prime importance, he gave examples of the fictitious superheroes of the world and how they save us from villains. He made them agree to the fact that parents and teachers are no less than superheroes (superman/superwoman) in our lives and how we should approach them without any hesitation in case of denial or discomfort.

Rajarshi gradually spoke about the four danger zones of the body with utmost gentleness. He made it very clear to them that NO-one is allowed to ill-touch those four danger zones (except parents and doctors, if required) neither should they touch anyone else’s. He made them shout “NO” and throw their hands forward in objection. He told them to shout, push and run to their superheroes if any situation of that sort ever arises.

53% of children are sexually abused in India in some form or the other every year. It is atrocious and it has to STOP. Under this project till date 6 sessions are being conducted in 3 schools were children from nursery to class VIII participated, also 2 sessions were conducted with the parents of the children.

As Swindoll once said, “Each day of our life we make deposits in the memory banks of our children”. Team ‘Baalrakshak’ will thrive to embellish lives’ of children and we shall not stop till we have the richest banks. After all, it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults!

And in the process you come into the picture. Yes, you! You can donate to a reckoning Non profit organization in India like CRY. By a large magnitude, you can help in the mission. Now is the time! Donate!

Sneha Mukherjee Volunteer, CRY 

our little girl goes to school

Our Little Girl Went to School

In the Kunchikorve Community located in Santa Cruz, one can find a thin little girl dressed up in a red frock of around 6-7 years, standing in a lane and looking at other kids playing. She would seem disturbed, lonely and timid. On further enquiry, one would get to know that her name is Devika.

Found during one of the enrolment drives done by the CRY volunteers to ensure betterment of children in slums, Devika was one of the many kids whom the volunteers came across. She appeared lonely, standing quietly and not talking to anybody. The volunteers tried to interact with her but during the conversations with the volunteers; she was either looking down or trying to run away, most probably due to mistreatment or depression. She was scared and every stranger scared her too much to converse properly. Even after much enquiry the volunteer could only get her name. She did not react at all about anything and randomly got lost in the dingy lanes of Santa Cruz.

After a few months the volunteers made enquiries regarding the child with the only information they had acquired that is the name, asking about her in the community, it was found that she was a special child who was suffering from Partial Blindness, which made it difficult for her to attend normal school. Her disability was the burden which made her lonely and introvert, and isolated her from the rest of the children. In her family, she has her mother, father and a younger brother. Her parents wished her child to be educated and independent but due to the limited information, they were helpless regarding how to go about it. Her mother had accepted her fate and could only woe for her child. She required child support.

To help Devika, two CRY volunteers, Anirudh Chaudhary and Riya Lakhmani completely involved themselves in the process to get her enrolled in a school to help her get educated. As a part of the non-profit organization in India, they both devoted their time after college hours to arrange appointments, take follow ups to different educational institutions. It was a tenuous job but their persistence helped them to fetch some appointments.

Devika’s mother Kiran says, “We had accepted our child is not normal and will never be able to lead a normal life but when I saw these two volunteers ready to take her charge, I got a hope that things are going to fall in place and she will get educated at least to become self-dependent. Now I have a hope that my child will be able to see as well as lead a normal life and this thought itself makes me very happy.”

The volunteers also approached NAB (National Association for Blind) to help her getting enrolled in their schools. During one of the sessions, the volunteers learnt that she was suffering from malnutrition and weakness along with Partial Blindness. She was also an introvert and not comfortable with unknown people. They enrolled her in one of their centers to overcome this shyness and get along with people more efficiently. Her parents were also asked to get her an Aadhar Card and get a vision test done. The volunteers had accompanied them to the Aadhar Card Centre. Since Devika’s eye lenses had a problem , it was getting very difficult to get her iris recognition done and also to detect her fingerprints was proving to be a challenge too.

Anirudh says, “Some Relationships are beyond the mere exchange of words, this journey has given me a little angel for whom my love has no bounds and for whose happiness I can do anything.”

By the interactions with Devika in their appointment, guiding her and assisting her in every stage of her admission, Anirudh has developed a strong bond of affection with her and watching her learn to read and write at this pace, gave him contentment which cannot be ever defined or explained by words.

Devika continues to amaze her teachers and her parents by learning at a tremendous pace. Today, Devika is a cheerful and a confident child and a different person altogether. During the vision test, it was found that her visual impairment can be cured by just one operation. Now, finally the efforts of her family, and the volunteers seem to be bearing fruit. Devika will soon undergo an operation and hopefully will be able to see the world that lies ahead of her. The volunteers are committed to be with her and her family during this arduous journey– till she starts flying like kids of her age.

You can also help other children like Devika. Not only that you can volunteer but also donate to CRY. Your money goes out to helping children and shaping them into better human beings.

Note: The child’s name is changed to respect her privacy