- 26 December, 2018
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A 17-year old passionate and persistent Thimma Reddy is quickly emerging as a role model for children in Manvi, Raichur. Together with the other members from their Children’s Collective, he goes to the Panchayat, gets information from them, and passes it on to the others in the Collective.
When questioned by his mother on why he engages with the community and stakeholders rather than taking up a part time job and adding to the family income, he tells her how he likes helping the children in his community and wants to see them become successful in life. Thimma Reddy explains why he wants to do what he does, “We are taking our own rights, what is rightfully ours, not grabbing that of others”.
3 years ago, when Thimma Reddy was in grade 9, he went to collect firewood for cooking. Unfortunately, he was electrocuted due to an unattended live wire. This accident left him severely injured and with 80% of his body being burnt. His family had to sell the little land that they had, for his treatment. He went through 6 months of treatment, and consequently missed the second half of his 9th grade classes.
As he slowly recovered, constant motivation and counseling was given to him by Shobha, a community organizer at CRY project partner, Shruti Samskruti Samasthe (SSS). He showed courage and confidence to pursue his education and wrote his final exams despite pain and difficulty posed by his burns. Thimma Reddy passed his SSLC examination in 2016. Currently, he studies in 12th grade at Baiyapur College in Manvi town.
Thimma Reddy’s enthusiasm hasn’t wavered over the years, and instead has only become stronger. Hailing from a poor background himself, he understood the hardships that each family in his village goes through. In order to ensure that children did not have to bear the brunt of the financial responsibilities their family face, Thimma Reddy and other children, under the leadership of SSS, convinced the Panchayat members, over multiple conversations, to make provisions for scholarships for students who passed their SSLC exams. Thanks to their efforts, the Panchayat agreed to provide financial aid to all 32 children studying in 11th and 12th grade. As a result of this initiative a total of 317 children have applied for and received financial support.
Thimma Reddy likes to get his hands on all things related to child rights. From working with the children’s collective to get light bulbs and electricity connection in the local primary school, to monitoring food services in Anganwadi, Thimma Reddy is on top of it all. Mentored by Shobha, he goes to the Anganwadi and checks on the children, the premises and the quality of food. Apart from that, he also takes it upon himself to ensure that all children in his village go to school. When he heard about 3 children who were irregular to school and a child who had dropped out, he went to their houses and convinced their guardians to allow them to go back to school on a regular basis. He spoke about the importance of education to both, the children and their parents. This achievement too, he attributes to the support of SSS community organizer, Shobha.
Today, Thimma Reddy is an Ashoka Youth Venturer, who aims to alleviate child rights issues in his village and its neighboring areas.
When asked what his dream is and what he wants to do after completing his studies, Thimma Reddy smiles and says, “I want to see children from our villages living healthy and happy lives, and pursuing their dreams through education. I want to end caste and gender based discrimination in schools and villages. I dream and envision better policies from our government, so that the rights of children and marginalized communities are ensured.”