Sona’s Schoolcoming

“I miss my father. I was about seven when he passed away. And everything kept on getting tougher. My mother would cry a lot. Some days we would eat just once in the whole day. I have four brothers and three sisters. All of us started farming in the small piece of land we had. My mother too goes away for days. She goes to the big nearby cities where she works as a farm labourer. I used to stay at home with my sisters and helped them in the household chores. I was good in studies but had to drop out when I was in second standard.”

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Of Fathers, Daughters and Faith…

“You know what, I am pretty sure I should have scored more in History and Education. I missed the cut off required to move from Humanities to Nursing by a very thin margin. Of course, I’ve given my answer scripts for a recheck. But for now, I am concentrating on taking up English for my graduation and then doing my Masters in Social Work. My end objective remains the same. I want to help people. May be now, I will be able to help a larger number of people if I take up MSW.” History does repeat itself. Ananya Ghosh, a lanky teenager from Dhenua – a small, unassuming little village in the Bardhaman district of West Bengal – recreated history twice when the Higher Secondary Examination results were announced last week.

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Story of Stopping Child Labourer And an Activist Nestled Inside a Child Labourer

Child abuse in India is not an odd news, it is something that badly needs to be addressed. Here is a story. Naveen is a slight boy with a bright smile. But don’t let this 15 year old’s demeanour fool you because he is a powerhouse. He has just been selected as an Ashoka Youth Venturer by the Ashoka Youth Venture Programme (AYVP) for his community initiatives.

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From taking care of her siblings, to taking care of her own future!

The Tiu family belongs to the Kolha tribes, a Schedule Tribe Community. They are marginal farmers by profession and their livelihood depends majorly on the daily wages. As a community, the Kolha tribe is extremely backwards in terms of economic and social development. Pushpa Tiu (name changed), daughter of Raman and  Kamala Tiu, is a little member from this community in Ranipokhari, Odisha. Like most of the community members, Raman and Kamala make their ends meet with great difficulty. Pushpa lives with her parents and two brothers whom she loves dearly. This is her story!

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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

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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PULAK GOES BACK TO SCHOOL: CRY EAST VOLUNTEERS SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCE

Last year, as part of the children’s group we initiated in Dhakuria’s Ward 92 of Kolkata along with 3 other volunteers, we started undertaking sessions with the local children on a regular basis. The sessions which focused on teaching something new to the children be it arts and craft, GK quizzes, theatre etc, elicited much enthusiasm from the children whoREAD MORE

THE NATIONAL POLICY FOR CHILDREN, 2013

Government of India recently approved and adopted the National
Policy of Children (NPC) 2013. Looking at the need to expand the scope of The National Policy of Children 1974, the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) prepared the Draft National Policy for Children 2012 and invited comments from public in August 2012. Thereafter after receiving comments, on 26th April 2013, the NPCREAD MORE

ASPIRATIONS – BUNDLED IN BALLOONS!

About two weeks back I saw these kids near Vashi Bus Depot in Navi Mumbai. They were selling balloons in front of a very famous restaurant.  When I asked them whether I could take their picture with what they were selling, they readily and enthusiastically agreed. I took their picture and showed them. Instantly one of them instructed rest of the others to stand properly and told me “Didi vapas lo” (take the picture again).READ MORE

CRY EMPLOYEES VISIT THE KALAPANDHARI MAGASVARGIYA AND ADIVASI GRAMIN VIKAS SANSTHA PROJECT.(KMAGVS)

A bunch of new CRY employees visited the KMAGVS project,Latur in August. We learnt about the innovative ways of the KMAGVS to bring about development and create an environment that is enriching and positive. We also interacted with the children of that region and the representatives of the Kalapandhari Magaswargiya and Adiwasi Gramin Vikas Sanstha.(KMAGVS)
The CRY team visitedREAD MORE

SHOULD YOU BE FORCED TO PAY FOR WHAT SHOULD COME FREE?

Children’s education is a major chunk of household expense…and most Indians can’t afford private school fees. All this when education is a RIGHT – an entitlement.

The new Right to Education Act seeks to achieve just this…Perfect? Not really. Half of India’s children are left out of the Act…And it is not backed by enough funds. Now, if only the governmentREAD MORE