CRY UNIVERSAL CHILDREN’S DAY 2011
Education in India – Key Statistics
- 19,107 eligible habitations do not have a primary school within 1 km
- 81, 50,618 children in the 6-18 age group are out of school
- 42.25 per cent of children dropped out of school by class 8.
- 4,07,575 schools have an adverse pupil-teacher ratio (As stipulated by the Right to Education Act 2009, 1:35)
- 98,804 primary schools have only one teacher.
- 1,16,328 schools do not have their own building
- 95,749 schools do not have drinking water
- 5, 84,131 schools do
IT’S UNIVERSAL CHILDREN’S DAY, SO LET’S HEAR WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY, SAYS CRY – CHILD RIGHTS AND YOU
On the 22nd anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) CRY showcases how empowering children with their rights can lead to a change that lasts a lifetime.
November 20th is celebrated internationally as Universal Children’s day, marking the date the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). India ratified the convention in 1992, making it legally binding for the government of India to ensure every child in the country the right to life, identity, protection from abuse and the right to have an opinion in matters that concern them.
On November 14th, 2011 – a day designated to celebrate the Indian child, CRY hosted an open forum for children whose voices are rarely heard, to speak out on issues that affect them the most – their rights.
“It was a struggle for me to reach school,” said Nagendra Kumar from Madhuvati village in the Kolar district of Karnataka. “There is no high school in our village, and we had to travel 15 km to reach our school. The government bus facilities were poor, and we were forced to take private auto rickshaws to school, which is quite unaffordable for many of our parents. As a result, many children from the village would drop out of school. Our children’s group in the village discussed the issue with the concerned officials. We held meetings and protests to voice our demand. Today we have been sanctioned 3 buses on the route to school, which ply during school hours.”
Entitled ‘Bal Sawaal Bal Dhamaal’, the event was held in five cities- Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Bengaluru and Chennai with representatives from various children’s groups from CRY-supported projects. They presented their stories of trials and triumphs; of how they have ensured change in their own lives and in the communities they live in, by demanding their rights to live, learn, grow and play.
Puja Marwaha, Chief Executive Officer, CRY says, “Our experience in over 3500 children’s collectives we have helped form and nurture nationally, reveals that once children understand and view themselves as right holders, they come together to voice their demands and fight for their rights.”
The Children’s Collectives are a model established by CRY based on Children’s Right to Participation, as stated in the UNCRC. It is an attempt to ensure that voices of children are included in decisions that affect their lives. These groups come together on a regular basis in a village or slum with the objective of enabling their own holistic development. They address issues relating to their lives, such as basic infrastructure in their schools, hygiene, access to playgrounds and ensuring their peers attend school and not work. “The collectives give children the opportunity to connect with one another, understand the environment and the many struggles that they face, and to ultimately create solutions to address their own challenges,” says Ms. Marwaha.
From issues regarding gender and disability discrimination to demanding basic amenities like electricity, a school building in their village and access to drinking water, children from CRY-supported projects have shown how empowering children with their right to participation can change their lives for the better.
Note to the Editor: CRY – Child Rights and You (formerly known as Child Relief and You) is an Indian NGO that believes in every child’s right to a childhood – to live, learn, grow and play. For over 30 years, CRY and its partners have worked with parents and communities to ensure Lasting Change in the lives of more than 20 Lakh underprivileged children. For more information please visit us at http://www.cry.org/
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