hemlata

From Thought to Action for Uplifting the Lives of Children

Hemlata comes with great educational qualifications and she’s from Hathras in Uttar Pradesh. After she lost her husband about 14 years ago, she has been living with her parents in Delhi. She says that she was teaching children below six years of age and one day walked in for an interview for the post of an Anganwadi worker and got selected. Working for children became her passion and she first joined an Anganwadi centre in Rangpur Pahari under Mehrauli ICDS project. It has been 11 years for her as an Anganwadi worker. She was placed in Nardan Basti in 2016.

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Zeeshan

Crossing Over!

It’s 10 already and the volunteer intervention area at Razabazaar is gearing up for the weekend sessions. In some time the energy of the whole place will change. The children will start chirping, their excitement will mix with the volunteers’ enthusiasm. There will be fun and frolic for which  the children wait eagerly all week.

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Valuben

The Wonder Woman from Kutch

She has been credited for not only bringing the first school in her village but also electricity, water and health facilities for women and children.  Meet the vivacious 50-year-old CRY-Child Rights champion Valuben from Sujapura Vand from Kutch in Gujarat whose fights for child rights has transformed her empty desert village into a child friendly space.

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satyam iit kgp

That’s how we do it!

Working for society changes you into a much more grounded individual. Our motive is to wish to bring about social change of some sort. My 3 years’ experience as a volunteer at CRY IIT Kharagpur Chapter, which had regularly attracted local resources and successfully implemented its initiatives of School Drop Out Enrolment, Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Workshop, Medical Camp, Career Counselling, School Sessions, Community Meetings, Child Labour Survey and many more, taught me that a ‘high-principled’ team allows an organization to achieve maximum efficiency with minimum resources. We are very sensitive to the organization’s public image, its internal rules, and the tasks set for them, but the results of  our work justify the time and effort involved in doing so. We encourage each other to take initiatives.READ MORE

Abhinav

All in a day’s work!

Abhinav Parashar, a 24 year old hard working software engineer at Century Link Ltd during the day and a passionate volunteer at CRY during the night, is no less than a superhero for the under privileged kids in Vaishali. He has been teaching these kids every day after his office hours for almost a year. And in this short duration of time he has matured immensely and won the hearts of the kids. This short journey is no less than a roller coaster ride for him and his team, facing every challenge head on and standing firm throughout are the basic pillars to their group.. He believes that children are the vital part for a greater future and they should have a positive and healthy attitude towards life, this would lead to lower crime rates and one day it will eradicated all forms of crime from the face of earth.

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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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shubham

From Darkness to Light with Adequate Funding and Support

Shivam, lovingly known as Shubham, is a dedicated young student from KunchiKurve Nagar near Kalina in Mumbai.

He was about to quit education and therefore give up his chance to a better life when he got his eye hurt while playing with his siblings. He took care of it by going to the nearby dispensary where he was prescribed an eye drop. His condition deteriorated but Shubham and his family were optimistic that within a matter of time, the pain would subside so he resumed his daily activity of going to school.

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Siya Dulari

She turned it Around – And how! The Victorious Journey of Siya Dulari

There has never been a dearth of inspirational stories in India. From child marriage to abuse, there are several issues people have braved. Out of these, have been born stories like that of Siya Dulari.

Siya Dulari’s story could have been about a child bride who at the age of 14 years found herself abandoned by her spouse and with 3 children to look after and like innumerable such stories her life would have been remembered as an endless saga of suffering.

But Siya Dulari gave her story a different turn. She enrolled herself for schooling and higher studies and completed her graduation. Siya Dulari’s childhood was far from being an ideal one, and thus began her drive to ensure that children lead happy and healthy lives.

Purely on grounds of compassion she started working for the children in her community who were dying of malnutrition. In 2006 Siya was identified by CRY, a reckoned non government organisation and awarded a fellowship. The fellowship gave Siya an opportunity to scale up her work and she now works intensively in 13 villages. It is due to Siya’s efforts that the district and state administration was compelled to take note of the situation of malnutrition among children in the district and take special measures to address the issue. Siya regularly visits the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights in Delhi, and plays a leading role in deliberating on child rights issues. She holds very strong opinions about child nutrition. Being a discerned individual and someone who has been through so many trying times, her two cents are of high value.

So a 14 year old child who was already a mother of three is now a 38 year old woman making leaps in order to ensure that no child in the Rewa District dies of hunger!

Had it not been for this desire of hers, would she have realized the power that she has within? The power to voice her opinion, sit across the table and share space with senior level government functionaries and legislators clearly driving home the point that no matter what malnutrition among children in the district has to be eradicated. You can join her league too. You can donate to the various causes that are inflicting the society. When you fund for NGO, your money works like a game changer for several Siya Dularis. Your small contribution can change someone’s world. Step up! Donate today!

Know more about her work here.

our little girl goes to school

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

Ujjawal

I Cycled 2500 km for CRY, Here’s Why

Each one of us has gone through the anguish of having to witness children begging at traffic lights. Their eyes are filled with hopes shrouded by misery and helplessness. In between these 60 seconds of glimpse into violated lives, we take out a coin from our pocket to give it to them. That coin is allegoric to the pity that brims our heart for these children. But with this act, we comfort ourselves that we did our share for them.

In this case, we turn ourselves emotionally blind, to refuse innately to work for them. Thinking that apart from giving that coin, there is nothing we are capable of, or can do to bring long-term change.

But yes, each one of us has felt this desirous need to help them. That they are deprived of opportunities, comfort and education. That their rights are being violated and poverty has obliterated their lives.

Each one of us has also been through numerous instances of witnessing child labor and abuse. Young boys working at tea-stalls, young girls working as house-maids. We turn our eyes away from this bitter truth. Child abuse is not physical exploitation alone, but exploitation of the rights of these children to live a happy childhood, to be able to go to school. So every time we are direct or indirect employers, we are responsible for child labor and abuse.

I’ve been through both of these cases. I’ve stopped at traffic lights whereby I’d flick some money from my pocket. I’ve been guilty of eating at places where a “chotu” served me my food.

Each instance would enrage me as to why I, on one hand, had enjoyed opportunities of comfort and education, while many other children, go without a roof to sleep, without a penny in their pocket or morsel of food in their mouth, without education to fulfill their dreams.

A famous quote says, “the biggest problem is that we do not think there is a problem.”

I wanted to show everyone how disturbing the truth is – how tomorrow’s India is sleeping on streets. These children who we call the future of India, are being devoid of opportunities for education. It is an issue that impedes a developed India, and more importantly, an issue of grave concern on humanitarian grounds. Where every citizen should have been a changemaker in the country, each one of them has turned a blind eye to the issue, whilst taking our own comforted lives and privileges for granted.

Knowing only Hindi, and having stayed in Bengal for last four years during my college education, I tried to teach children in villages, however, I’ve not been so successful at it, realizing my shortcomings due to the communication gap. At the same time, I recognized my potential to be able to construct stories and stir emotion through pictures, which spoke to all people of all languages alike. In turn, I was associated with CRY chapter at my college, where I took different initiatives of awareness campaigns through pictures and social media. As a consequence of the persistent efforts by CRY at my college, child labour which was a menace in the college canteens, has been banned.

After this successful initiative, I did not want to stop there, but reach out to more people who have simply turned a blind eye. Every bit I could do, and whichever way I could, I wanted to put my efforts into it.

In the meanwhile, I had also developed a strong fascination for testing my physical and mental limits through running and cycling. People such as Terry Fox (an amputee who ran across Canada for raising funds for Cancer), and Lance Armstrong (who completed Tour De France overcoming Cancer) inspired me. Thankfully, yet again, I’ve been given the physical ability to run, walk, and do things I like. Many people again take all these things for granted.

After completing a full marathon, and several cycling rides, and having started all these only in November 2013, I was zealous to fulfill my hunger for peace within myself – this peace could only emanate from the knowledge that I had put all my efforts, pushed myself to the extremes and done something worthwhile for the cause I believed in.

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This is how the cross country Kolkata to Mumbai 2500 KM Cycle journey came about. People would call me ‘mad’, call the task ‘impossible’, show the shortcomings of me not being a ‘trained athlete’. But I was determined, and the fact that I was just an ordinary guy was not a hindrance, but a motivation to me. That if I can do something like this, so can you, so can everyone. And by efforts, I do not want everyone to put in a herculean effort of doing the same thing, but that every one counted as our nation’s youth should put all efforts they could, all dedication with all determination into the society.

From the cycling trip, I was able to raise funds, cover several stories and raise awareness in not only the places I visited, but also through media, and word-of-mouth. What everyone saw as an extraordinary feat, to me was a challenge that I had to complete being just an ordinary guy, just so that everyone who constricts their efforts and puts limitations to his or her own self, can understand that there are no bounds to human potential and our ability to bring about change.

It was a change within me on several levels and phases. Through the times where sweat beads would flow from our brows to our chins through the grueling day of 45 centigrade summer heat and cycling effort, to the times where we would greeted by hospitable locals and children who resonated excitement and enthusiasm in our efforts; I enjoyed everything alike. The diverse terrain and people were enchanting and so incredible, that I was always energetic to keep pushing every day. At the same time, I would witness the different and diverse issues regarding child rights plaguing the society, each place infested with its own typical problems – from lack of teacher attendance in schools and ineffective implementation of MDM, to lack of opportunities, grave poverty and child labor and abuse among underprivileged sections of the society. All these prodded me to keep moving with more ardor and zeal, to really bring about a change in such an abysmal state of affair.

Now at the end of the trip, my mind wanders, to questions like did I bring about a change, to answers that each one of us has to unitedly stand up and fight for a developed country. And while my mind wanders, my heart is back to yearning for the peace again, the peace I found doing something worthwhile for someone else, for a cause I believed in, for a better country. It is an effort that should never stop, it is a spirit that should never die, and it is a goal we should not stop before we reach it.

You join the league too. When you donate funds for NGO, you are able to extend help to children in need. The funds at CRY are used for child education plan and several other activities. If you are interested specifically in child centred education, you can volunteer and donate on that front too.

Ujjawal Chauhan, CRY volunteer, Kolkata

Jayam

Do not let History Repeat Itself with Child Slavery

As a Dalit girl, Jayam Manohar was a victim of various inhuman practices. Life was not easy for her in a community where a semi-feudal system is still prevalent. She was treated as an untouchable. Her family was a victim of bonded labour, a system which traps marginalised Dalit families into a lifelong cycle of indebtedness thereby, leading to the denial of every right of children and family members. They are forced to work for long hours without wages and have no access to education. As a child, Jayam was forced to work as a bonded labourer for almost 15-16 hours a day. Thanks to feeble laws in the country, not enough actions were taken to stop child labour.

Later, poverty and the social pressure made her a child bride. The sex ratio of her district was 929 against the state ratio of 972 and the child sex ratio was 918 in the district against the state ratio of 946. In such a social setting, she was also forced to undergo female foeticide. It is hard to see that there has never been a child education plan in the process but only marriage.

Her experiences as a child bride, child labourer and a victim of female foeticide and un-touchability have fueled her efforts to bring to light the plight of people and children ruthlessly crushed under these practices.

She started working for others in her community because she had an urge to interact with other people who went through circumstances similar to hers. She decided to personally ask people whether any of their family members were a victim of such social evils. This constant questioning helped her fathom the gravity of these issues.

Jayam now spearheads the Salem People Trust (SPT), a non government organization (NGO) that works for the most marginalised, especially children. Her team consists of people who have been victims of exploitation. She works extensively against bonded labour, female foeticide, infant mortality, child labour, child marriage and illiteracy. Owing to her experience, she is now aware of every single nuance related to such issues. She has been consistently fighting against child slavery.

Through her efforts, 28 families were brought out of bonded labour and 98 children from these families were enrolled in schools. 227 children were re-enrolled in school including 60 child labour from bonded labour families. 28 parents of child labourers were enrolled in MNREGA. 140 part time child labourers and dropouts were re-enrolled in schools.

She has prevented 86 female foeticides and 34 infant foeticide in the past four years. Her persistent efforts resulted in a scan centre in Vazhapadi to shut down because it was undertaking sex determination test and performing female foeticide. Over the last five years, Jayam was able to completely stop the practice of delivering babies at home. She stopped five Dhais (local midwives) from undertaking female foeticides and home deliveries. She prevented 16 child marriages by counselling the parents and panchayat leaders, and motivated them to enrol children in HSS.

These are just a few of her many accomplishments. Jayam is still not satisfied with her impact. She is determined to do a lot more and ensure that government addresses these issues and helps change the whole scenario. Her experience and commitment to the cause are visible in her work.

Do you want to create more stories of change? As a citizen, you can donate and help a child have a fruitful life. Donate for children as they need help to grow and lead a better life.

Salem Peoples Trust is a project supported by CRY and Genius Consultants Pvt. Ltd.