bipasha_diksha

Protecting the Children from Abuse and Creating a Happy Future

The sessions at Diksha (a CRY partner) are generally a very cheerful affair. The children are usually chirping with excitement and wonder – playing, participating and engaged in activities. But in one corner was Bipasha – an adolescent girl who had been attending the sessions for almost a couple of years on and off, would not talk at all. She listens to and observes each session carefully but when it came to participating, she would hardly open up.

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Child Labour

THE UNDIMINISHING ACT OF CHILD LABOUR IN INDIA

SOCIAL VALUES IN OUR COUNTRY

India, our motherland is a very versatile country. We have different regions with different territorial variations, cultures and values spanning across various regions in thousand different ways, traditions flowing in our blood, customs that are a part of every Indian household.

These customs and values hold us together and bind us in one nutshell; hence we live by the true spirit of being an Indian. Although India is proud of its achievements, we also have major social issues to be addressed in the country.

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Sunita

DECIDE. COMMIT. SUCCEED

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese Proverb
This is the story of a young girl who achieved success through sheer determination and grit. Sunitaben Jeevanbhai Vaghela, a 15 year old girl, lived with her family in Gujarat and was appearing for SSC (Secondary Board Examinations) that year. Sunita was a bright child. Hence her parents had lofty expectations of her faring well in the exams and making a mark for herself. However, destiny had something else in store for Sunita. Not only her, but her parents and family members were shattered to know that Sunita had failed in her exams. Heart-broken and thoroughly disillusioned with life, Sunita dropped out of school. Her parents, who too had lost all hopes, became disinterested about her continuing her education. Often, out of sheer distress, they would question her about her failure despite being a smart and hardworking student. They also taunted her saying it would have been better had she not taken up studies at all. Sunita was distraught because not only did she have to deal with the anguish of failing the exam but also had to go through the agony of dealing with her parents’ harsh demeanour towards her.

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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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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 

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

Anuja Blog Piece - protection

Let’s Equip Ourselves for Better Child Welfare to Protect Our Young Citizens

When an unfortunate incident happens with children, it fills our heart and soul with immense grief and anger. In India, every fifth minute there is an occurrence of crime against children, however what shakes us the most in the Ryan International case is the fact that crime took place within the four walls of the school which is considered to be safe place for a child. There are numerous cases which time and again have proven that protection of children at school level is clearly compromised. This recent untowardly incident has escalated the much needed aspect of child protection at school level. It is certain that at present school going children and children who access any such institution such as an Anganwadi, private play school, crèche, day care center or other institutions are not completely protected.

Child welfare and protection isn’t a simple process which can be fixed with ensuring some minimum required protocols in place. It is about a range of things starting from empowering children themselves to establishing clear accountabilities. It is about prevention, timely response/action and in cases of violation a decisive action by duty bearers involving punitive action followed by speedy closure of a case.

A child resides in an ‘adult dominated world’, and sadly our notion of safety is not ‘child-centric’. We conveniently assume that children are at risk with a stranger or a school bus driver and not at risk with a relative. We are extremely worried when a child is exposed to risk if s/he crosses a heavy traffic road and we don’t find it threatening when s/he sits for 6 hours in a dilapidated school / Angwandi building. We often say ‘world outside it very bad’, but often do not invest in making children learn about personal safety which could arise from known people or complete strangers. In India, the perception and palpability of risk for children is very low. The overall understanding that children’s protection encompasses a lot of obvious as well as obscure aspects and it is something which is not understood and acted upon by duty bearers and caregivers of children.

As a non government organization, when we look at children’s protection in the realm of school safety we somewhere narrow the holistic protection. We are today in a society where a lot of times violation of children’s right within the school is not even seen as anything wrong. On a daily basis children face various forms of corporal punishment, they are shamed, beaten, discriminated, mistreated and in most of the cases it is considered ‘normal’ or a way to ‘discipline’ children. The powerful adult doesn’t even comprehend the damage done intentionally or un-intentionally to the child’s psyche. The protection canvas for children is much wider and entails everything which makes the child access to school and stay safe inside the school. On one end it is about making sure that road to school and transport to school is safe and on the other hand it is also about operationalising the laid out protocols and guidelines and making child protection an intrinsic part of educational institute’s ethos and institutional laid out principles. It is about working on preventive aspects with building greater awareness and equipping adults to address issues of child protection and appropriately respond. It is investing in building the agency in children and empowering them to act, react and seek help whenever their safety is compromised. And most importantly having conversations with children and making options available for children to let them confide and talk. The main objective is to save children from any atrocity or problems.

There is a dire need for us as a society to invest in child support and safety and considerably bring about a systemic change in every aspect which touches a child’s world. For the population of 444 million children under the age of 18 years, we have allocated only 1062 crores for Child Protection in 2017-18 Union Budget out of which highest share going to Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) of 648 crores. There is almost negligible budget parked for awareness building and preventive aspects. Investment in laying down various preventive mechanisms is extremely crucial and for which increased investment in human resource, training as well as technology is imperative. The discourse cannot just curtail itself to having better facilities in school bus, replacing all staff with female staff in the school.

We as a non profit organization know that a large number of children in India walk to school, access over crowded private transport and public buses and forget closed circuit television camera, the sheer availability of electricity is absent.

The need of the hour is strong political will and clearly laid out accountabilities for duty bearers in order to protect our young citizens and create mass awareness and sensitization to build a society where every adult does everything it takes in their will, and capacity to make sure all children are always safe.

We at CRY aim to assemble facilities and activities that are critical for children and their welfare. You can be a part of us too. By doing online donation, you can help and extend your support to the children. This is how you can contribute to the society and nation as a whole.

The writer, Anuja Kastia is Associate General Manager, Policy & Advocacy, CRY

 

Changing minds, Changing behaviors – Beliefs and practices of tribal women about breastfeeding

The village of Vijayanagar (Patparpali panchayat, Chura block, District Gariyaband) lying near the border of Chattisgarh and Odisha, is inhabited by tribal residents. Rukamani Bai Markam, 28 and her husband, Kaliram Markam, are permanent residents of this village. Rukmini a mother of three, Tankeshwari (9 years), Priti (4 years) and Isa (14 months) gave birth to her first two children at home, and due to prevailing stereotypes they were not fed colostrum (the first milk produced by the mother after giving birth).READ MORE

divya

Life with CRY

This July, I complete my 3 years of volunteering in CRY, and it feels like I have been associated with them since forever, which is partially true because of my parents association with CRY, I will always be a ‘CRY baby’.

But looking at those 3 years, I know things have changed, in kids, in school, in the PAG and above all in me, myself.

I still remember my first class at Jai Bai school and I ended up with moist eyes. I was sharing the class with Varsha didi, the pioneer of our pag in Kalyan, so being the first day we started with introduction, their daily routine and aspirations. And their answers left us numb.

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SPT Blog 2

Coming together for children

How collective action in a village helped bring a school back to life.

A small village of 352 families of Karipatti in Salem district teaches us all the power of collective action.

When a well functioning government high school teaching 150+ children was demolished to dust because of a Four Lane National Highway plan, none of the authorities in the education department came in to protect the rights of the students of the school.

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