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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Featured Image_Nandha Kumar

From Vyasarpadi to Indian Football – A Journey of Dreams!

Nandha Kumar is a vibrant footballer from Vyasarpadi, Chennai who currently plays for Delhi Dynamos. But the glitz and the glamour of the world of football and its players is yet to touch him. The younger son to Sekar and Sarasu, Nandha Kumar was identified and brought to the Children’s Collective in his area, run by CRY supported project Slum Children Sports Talents Education Development Society (SCSTEDS) at the age of 7. At that time, his father who used to work as an auto rickshaw driver had to stop working owing to health issues which left Sarasu to earn for the family. She began selling snacks outside school premises which provided the family with just Rs. 3000 to 5000 a month. They lived in a tiny house, with used asbestos sheets for a roof. Nandhakumar and his family survived on a single meal every day and he was completely dependent on the mid-day meals provided in the school.

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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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Featured Image_5 friends

5 Friends, 1 Mission – Preventing Child Marriage

A decade into the new millennium, and somewhere in the remote corners of the Satgawan Block in Koderma, Jharkhand, a group of five friends were getting ready to go for a wedding one summer morning. The mood was buoyant and the fun was yet to begin. They arranged for the presents for the bride and reached the venue at the village of Puthodih. But the bride was nowhere to be seen! When it was time for them to leave, upon their insisting, the mother of the groom arrived carrying the three year old bride in her arms. The little one had fallen asleep from the sheer exhaustion of the day’s proceedings.

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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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Siya Dulari

She turned it Around – And how! The Victorious Journey of Siya Dulari

There has never been a dearth of inspirational stories in India. From child marriage to abuse, there are several issues people have braved. Out of these, have been born stories like that of Siya Dulari.

Siya Dulari’s story could have been about a child bride who at the age of 14 years found herself abandoned by her spouse and with 3 children to look after and like innumerable such stories her life would have been remembered as an endless saga of suffering.

But Siya Dulari gave her story a different turn. She enrolled herself for schooling and higher studies and completed her graduation. Siya Dulari’s childhood was far from being an ideal one, and thus began her drive to ensure that children lead happy and healthy lives.

Purely on grounds of compassion she started working for the children in her community who were dying of malnutrition. In 2006 Siya was identified by CRY, a reckoned non government organisation and awarded a fellowship. The fellowship gave Siya an opportunity to scale up her work and she now works intensively in 13 villages. It is due to Siya’s efforts that the district and state administration was compelled to take note of the situation of malnutrition among children in the district and take special measures to address the issue. Siya regularly visits the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights in Delhi, and plays a leading role in deliberating on child rights issues. She holds very strong opinions about child nutrition. Being a discerned individual and someone who has been through so many trying times, her two cents are of high value.

So a 14 year old child who was already a mother of three is now a 38 year old woman making leaps in order to ensure that no child in the Rewa District dies of hunger!

Had it not been for this desire of hers, would she have realized the power that she has within? The power to voice her opinion, sit across the table and share space with senior level government functionaries and legislators clearly driving home the point that no matter what malnutrition among children in the district has to be eradicated. You can join her league too. You can donate to the various causes that are inflicting the society. When you fund for NGO, your money works like a game changer for several Siya Dularis. Your small contribution can change someone’s world. Step up! Donate today!

Know more about her work here.

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

Ujjawal

I Cycled 2500 km for CRY, Here’s Why

Each one of us has gone through the anguish of having to witness children begging at traffic lights. Their eyes are filled with hopes shrouded by misery and helplessness. In between these 60 seconds of glimpse into violated lives, we take out a coin from our pocket to give it to them. That coin is allegoric to the pity that brims our heart for these children. But with this act, we comfort ourselves that we did our share for them.

In this case, we turn ourselves emotionally blind, to refuse innately to work for them. Thinking that apart from giving that coin, there is nothing we are capable of, or can do to bring long-term change.

But yes, each one of us has felt this desirous need to help them. That they are deprived of opportunities, comfort and education. That their rights are being violated and poverty has obliterated their lives.

Each one of us has also been through numerous instances of witnessing child labor and abuse. Young boys working at tea-stalls, young girls working as house-maids. We turn our eyes away from this bitter truth. Child abuse is not physical exploitation alone, but exploitation of the rights of these children to live a happy childhood, to be able to go to school. So every time we are direct or indirect employers, we are responsible for child labor and abuse.

I’ve been through both of these cases. I’ve stopped at traffic lights whereby I’d flick some money from my pocket. I’ve been guilty of eating at places where a “chotu” served me my food.

Each instance would enrage me as to why I, on one hand, had enjoyed opportunities of comfort and education, while many other children, go without a roof to sleep, without a penny in their pocket or morsel of food in their mouth, without education to fulfill their dreams.

A famous quote says, “the biggest problem is that we do not think there is a problem.”

I wanted to show everyone how disturbing the truth is – how tomorrow’s India is sleeping on streets. These children who we call the future of India, are being devoid of opportunities for education. It is an issue that impedes a developed India, and more importantly, an issue of grave concern on humanitarian grounds. Where every citizen should have been a changemaker in the country, each one of them has turned a blind eye to the issue, whilst taking our own comforted lives and privileges for granted.

Knowing only Hindi, and having stayed in Bengal for last four years during my college education, I tried to teach children in villages, however, I’ve not been so successful at it, realizing my shortcomings due to the communication gap. At the same time, I recognized my potential to be able to construct stories and stir emotion through pictures, which spoke to all people of all languages alike. In turn, I was associated with CRY chapter at my college, where I took different initiatives of awareness campaigns through pictures and social media. As a consequence of the persistent efforts by CRY at my college, child labour which was a menace in the college canteens, has been banned.

After this successful initiative, I did not want to stop there, but reach out to more people who have simply turned a blind eye. Every bit I could do, and whichever way I could, I wanted to put my efforts into it.

In the meanwhile, I had also developed a strong fascination for testing my physical and mental limits through running and cycling. People such as Terry Fox (an amputee who ran across Canada for raising funds for Cancer), and Lance Armstrong (who completed Tour De France overcoming Cancer) inspired me. Thankfully, yet again, I’ve been given the physical ability to run, walk, and do things I like. Many people again take all these things for granted.

After completing a full marathon, and several cycling rides, and having started all these only in November 2013, I was zealous to fulfill my hunger for peace within myself – this peace could only emanate from the knowledge that I had put all my efforts, pushed myself to the extremes and done something worthwhile for the cause I believed in.

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This is how the cross country Kolkata to Mumbai 2500 KM Cycle journey came about. People would call me ‘mad’, call the task ‘impossible’, show the shortcomings of me not being a ‘trained athlete’. But I was determined, and the fact that I was just an ordinary guy was not a hindrance, but a motivation to me. That if I can do something like this, so can you, so can everyone. And by efforts, I do not want everyone to put in a herculean effort of doing the same thing, but that every one counted as our nation’s youth should put all efforts they could, all dedication with all determination into the society.

From the cycling trip, I was able to raise funds, cover several stories and raise awareness in not only the places I visited, but also through media, and word-of-mouth. What everyone saw as an extraordinary feat, to me was a challenge that I had to complete being just an ordinary guy, just so that everyone who constricts their efforts and puts limitations to his or her own self, can understand that there are no bounds to human potential and our ability to bring about change.

It was a change within me on several levels and phases. Through the times where sweat beads would flow from our brows to our chins through the grueling day of 45 centigrade summer heat and cycling effort, to the times where we would greeted by hospitable locals and children who resonated excitement and enthusiasm in our efforts; I enjoyed everything alike. The diverse terrain and people were enchanting and so incredible, that I was always energetic to keep pushing every day. At the same time, I would witness the different and diverse issues regarding child rights plaguing the society, each place infested with its own typical problems – from lack of teacher attendance in schools and ineffective implementation of MDM, to lack of opportunities, grave poverty and child labor and abuse among underprivileged sections of the society. All these prodded me to keep moving with more ardor and zeal, to really bring about a change in such an abysmal state of affair.

Now at the end of the trip, my mind wanders, to questions like did I bring about a change, to answers that each one of us has to unitedly stand up and fight for a developed country. And while my mind wanders, my heart is back to yearning for the peace again, the peace I found doing something worthwhile for someone else, for a cause I believed in, for a better country. It is an effort that should never stop, it is a spirit that should never die, and it is a goal we should not stop before we reach it.

You join the league too. When you donate funds for NGO, you are able to extend help to children in need. The funds at CRY are used for child education plan and several other activities. If you are interested specifically in child centred education, you can volunteer and donate on that front too.

Ujjawal Chauhan, CRY volunteer, Kolkata

vishwa

The Privilege of Guarantees

Working as an intern for CRY, I recently went for a project visit to the Ambedkar Nagar community in Sion Koliwada, Mumbai. Ambedkar Nagar is one of the many slum areas that CRY’s partner NGO Sparsh works in. Sparsh is made up of a group of volunteer teachers who conduct classes and teaching sessions to help the community children keep up with their education and aspire for a better future. At first, I was unsure of what to expect as I was told that the community members may be hesitant to open up to an outsider. My local guide, Santosh, introduced me to some Sparsh teachers, and through them I was introduced to the Vishwakarma family. To my surprise, they warmly welcomed me into their home and even offered me a packet of biscuits they keep for special visitors. After we were more comfortable with each other, they agreed to talk to me about their lives, an experience which really made me reflect on my socio-economic ‘privilege of guarantees’. The next few paragraphs will explain what I mean by this.READ MORE

Jayam

Do not let History Repeat Itself with Child Slavery

As a Dalit girl, Jayam Manohar was a victim of various inhuman practices. Life was not easy for her in a community where a semi-feudal system is still prevalent. She was treated as an untouchable. Her family was a victim of bonded labour, a system which traps marginalised Dalit families into a lifelong cycle of indebtedness thereby, leading to the denial of every right of children and family members. They are forced to work for long hours without wages and have no access to education. As a child, Jayam was forced to work as a bonded labourer for almost 15-16 hours a day. Thanks to feeble laws in the country, not enough actions were taken to stop child labour.

Later, poverty and the social pressure made her a child bride. The sex ratio of her district was 929 against the state ratio of 972 and the child sex ratio was 918 in the district against the state ratio of 946. In such a social setting, she was also forced to undergo female foeticide. It is hard to see that there has never been a child education plan in the process but only marriage.

Her experiences as a child bride, child labourer and a victim of female foeticide and un-touchability have fueled her efforts to bring to light the plight of people and children ruthlessly crushed under these practices.

She started working for others in her community because she had an urge to interact with other people who went through circumstances similar to hers. She decided to personally ask people whether any of their family members were a victim of such social evils. This constant questioning helped her fathom the gravity of these issues.

Jayam now spearheads the Salem People Trust (SPT), a non government organization (NGO) that works for the most marginalised, especially children. Her team consists of people who have been victims of exploitation. She works extensively against bonded labour, female foeticide, infant mortality, child labour, child marriage and illiteracy. Owing to her experience, she is now aware of every single nuance related to such issues. She has been consistently fighting against child slavery.

Through her efforts, 28 families were brought out of bonded labour and 98 children from these families were enrolled in schools. 227 children were re-enrolled in school including 60 child labour from bonded labour families. 28 parents of child labourers were enrolled in MNREGA. 140 part time child labourers and dropouts were re-enrolled in schools.

She has prevented 86 female foeticides and 34 infant foeticide in the past four years. Her persistent efforts resulted in a scan centre in Vazhapadi to shut down because it was undertaking sex determination test and performing female foeticide. Over the last five years, Jayam was able to completely stop the practice of delivering babies at home. She stopped five Dhais (local midwives) from undertaking female foeticides and home deliveries. She prevented 16 child marriages by counselling the parents and panchayat leaders, and motivated them to enrol children in HSS.

These are just a few of her many accomplishments. Jayam is still not satisfied with her impact. She is determined to do a lot more and ensure that government addresses these issues and helps change the whole scenario. Her experience and commitment to the cause are visible in her work.

Do you want to create more stories of change? As a citizen, you can donate and help a child have a fruitful life. Donate for children as they need help to grow and lead a better life.

Salem Peoples Trust is a project supported by CRY and Genius Consultants Pvt. Ltd.

About Us

Child Rights and You (CRY) is an Indian non-profit that believes in every child’s right to a childhood – to live, learn, grow and play. For nearly 4 decades, CRY and its 200 partner NGOs have worked with parents and communities across 23 states to ensure sustainable change in the live of over 2 million underprivileged children.