It takes a village to raise a child

When Vaishnavi lost her parents at the age of 12 to ill health, she and her brother were directionless and confused. They didn’t know who to go to and what to do. Luckily for them, their paternal aunt and uncle took them in.
But things didn’t get easier for them there. Their aunt’s family sustained themselves as agricultural labourers who earned just Rs.4000-6000 a month. As a family of four with two additional mouths to feed now, the family began moving from their village in Chittoor, AP to Bangalore and back in search of work. In order to make things easier, the family enrolled their two children, Vaishnavi and her brother in a gurukul in Chittoor. But in 6 months, the family was uprooted again and taken to Bangalore.READ MORE

Unstoppable Marthal

23 year old Marthal is currently an accountant at a BPO in Chennai. Her small stature and pleasant smile hides a lot of what she has had to go through. While for many in her community of Vyasarpadi, the job of an accountant might be coveted, Marthal has bigger dreams.
The slums of Vyasarpadi have been infamous for crime and its decrepit status. For the longest time, children were an extension of the working class and girls who hit adolescence were bound to get married in order to “protect” them. In a community that still struggles with these issues and is at the brink of change, Marthal was a ray of hope.READ MORE

Ashwini AYP Nomination

In Renigunta Mandal, tucked in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh are 4 quaint villages which are soon going to see transformation; thanks to one fierce girl – Vengavasi Ashwini, currently a student of nursing, is on a mission!

Ashwini has recently been selected by Ashoka Youth Venture as a change maker and here’s why. As a student of nursing, she is working to debunk myths regarding personal hygiene and adolescent health and strengthen the community in adolescent care.
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THE HEALING TOUCH

The idea of resorting to a life of giving and serving the community may have struck many but is often brushed aside as a far-fetched idea. This however, wasn’t the case with Mrs. Samira Ahmed. Previously a teacher at Lady Havabai School in Pune, she felt that her knowledge could serve a greater purpose and soon she began her long and fruitful journey with Child Rights and You in December 2016.

Even though she had taught children before, her start at Pune public action group school was like treading unchartered waters. The first impediment when teaching young seventh graders was the low attendance rate of students in class. The ones who did show up would run away during the class. Before Mrs. Samira could find a viable solution she was transferred to a class of eighth graders. When questioned, Mrs. Samira explained that it was no fault of the children for they had faced negativity of all kinds in their early childhood. She further added that each one of these children were special and storehouses of talent. All they needed was to be believed and encouraged in.
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Thimma Reddy- a positive, young force in Raichur!

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”.

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A little bit of help goes a long way!

Balamurugan is on top of the world. He has secured a job with IM Gears in Chennai and has received his first salary.

Born into the Arunthathiyar community, Murugan and his peers were constantly discriminated against at school. As they hailed from a community predominantly employed as manual scavengers, these children were expected to clean the latrines in their schools and fetch water and keep it ready in the toilets for upper caste students and teachers to use; because this was the job of their forefathers. This was one of the reasons that Human Rights Education and Protection Council (HREPC) rallied and opened up a separate school for the scheduled caste community in the vicinity.

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World Children’s Day: Empowering Young People for Global Development and Peace

The air is studded with the imaginary lines of blaze, the blaze of change and continuity. Life changes and never stops to embrace every phase you live through, in excellence or failure. But when you stop and stare, at your complex mind, there still remains some childishness hidden and embedded. While your life is moving faster and denser each day, and while you’re busy chasing your dreams, take off and cherish the child hiding in you for a day.

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No Dream is too Distant!

We often take education for granted. However, for a lot of girls in India, education is a distant dream. For a host of different reasons, girls across the country are forced to drop out of school.

But when given the opportunity to pursue education, girls can bring about a cycle of positive change. Not only do they stay away from early marriages and child labour, they also go on to become strong and independent members of the society. As they grow, they make better choices for themselves. Choices that only helps them transform and secure their lives but also grow up to become empowered women capable of influencing their communities for the better.

Jagruti’s story is a live testimony to that.

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The Sky is NOT The Limit!

“The path from dreams to reality does exist. May you have the vision to find it, the courage to get onto it and perseverance to follow it” -Kalpana Chawla
When Muthumanoranjini read about Kalpana Chawla as part of her English curriculum, she was in awe of the fact that a small town girl from her very own country was able to reach for the stars and get there too!
But she could still see some stark differences in her and Kalpana Chawla. For someone who is part of the Pallar (dalit/untouchable) community in Sattur, Tamil Nadu, she wasn’t sure if she’d be allowed to dream big.
Having been a part of children’s collective meetings during her school days in Anaikulam village in Tirunelveli district, where lived till she completed middle school, Ranjini was aware of her rights and opportunities and she felt that she could still achieve her dreams. Even when her family moved to the neighboring town of Sattur, this drove Ranjini.
An excellent student in school, she kept at her dream and worked hard, eventually topping her school. As the first one in her family to have the opportunity to go to college, she presented the idea of studying aeronautical engineering to her parents.
Unfortunately, her parents felt that it was a male-dominated profession and didn’t agree to send her for the course. When asked what she did then she says, “At first I cried. A lot. Then I realized that I need to make this happen.” She contacted the HREPC community organizer and caught the attention of the HREPC project holder, Bharathan.
Bharathan is a trusted leader within the people in the village. He spoke to the parents and convinced them, making them realize how this choice could potentially change the course of their daughter’s and their life. His project also arranged for counseling on higher education for Ranjini and her peers.
Today, Ranjini’s parents are her staunchest supporters and she’s pursuing her second year in aeronautical engineering, having secured first rank in her first year.
When asked what her future plans are, she replies without batting an eyelid; she’s going to do her post-graduation from Hindustan Aviation Academy in Bangalore and become an astronaut like Kalpana Chawla.
Ranjini has come a long way and is definitely aiming for the sky. And we have no doubt that she’s going to get there.

From a dropout to a role model!

The line goes – “When you educate a man, you educate an individual and when you educate a woman, you educate an entire family” – and in fact, education is the only tool with which a girl or a woman can empower herself and eventually her family.

However, in a country like India, poverty often decides whether a girl can continue her education or not. Such is Sumi Godsora’s story as well.

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