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.

I always knew CRY has started working in our community. And things will change! Every week I will see the “bhaiyas” and the “didis” coming and spending time with the kids. They will teach them but their approach will be quite different- there will be no boring lectures rather everyone will have so much fun! I myself am very driven when it comes to children.   I love them-I teach them-everyday I make sure to spend time with them but I wanted to do more, I wanted to do better.



Menstruation – A Taboo No More. Period.

A schoolgirl once stained her uniform whilst on her period. The boys in her class looked on and laughed. She laughed too, at how very naive they were…

Menstrual blood is typically the only source of blood that isn’t induced traumatically. Why then is it such a sensitive issue in a society like ours where child abuse is talked about freely but god forbid someone brings up menstruation during conversation! We live in a country deeply rooted in ignorance and superstition. Young girls across India lack the support they need when they reach this crucial stage in their lives. In most homes, mothers are unable to address menstruation related queries and in schools, the teachers shy away from doing so. This led CRY, an organization that provides child relief and support, to take up the initiative to spread awareness at the grass root level last year.



I Volunteered For A Journey…

I am a survivor of clinical depression. I confess.

I screamed at my parents, every day, every hour. I confess.

I blacked out during my first year college exams. I confess.

Shaggy hair. Unchanged clothes. Ugly crying through the night. Pills swallowed and a blade hidden under my mattress. I confess.

It was scary. It was grotesque. It was madness. I confess.

Though that changed. Not over a day. Not over a single mail. Not over a single orientation. It took a week, a few months and a couple of years.


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


An internship that changed my life!

I am Sana Mushtaq Zargar from the School of Law, University of Kashmir and the lush green, peace loving valley of Jammu and Kashmir.

My internship at CRY was my first ever internship. I’ve made a lot of memories during the journey of my internship but one of my most memorable projects in my internship was when I had to visit the children from CRY project intervention areas who were being trained at the Border Security Forces (BSF) training center on various courses. At the training center, I was delighted to see such happy faces and couldn’t wait to have a word with them. We had to document 5 initiatives which included courses like cooking, plumbing, tailoring, computers and electricity department.



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.



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.



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 

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


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.


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


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.


Delhi intern post

A Journey To Remember

“Children have real understanding only of that which they invent themselves.’’                                       ~Jean Piaget

I glow with contentment while writing this write-up about the extra-ordinary journey that I experienced in the month of May. Before that I had only heard how special every child is and  how talented every child is, but this journey with the kids at Project Swati,Tigri helped me realise how true these hearsays are. I got the opportunity to be their dance mentor for a month and it was during that period that I realised how curious and enthusiastic these kids were learn more.READ MORE