The Two-Way Process!

It was a little before Teachers’ Day that I joined CRY. Sick of a life where the only things that mattered were a university degree and café visits with friends, I wanted a little something to confer meaning to my life, a little more to look forward to every week. However, when I walked through the door on my first day at CRY I wasn’t sure how much I could help the kids.

The kids seemed shy and even scared of me. So, when on my second session, a kid I had never taught came over and shyly wished me Happy Teachers Day, I was overcome by a sense of guilt. It was then that I decided I had to work to live up to the image of a teacher.

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The Power YOU Unwittingly Wield

Meet Priyanka Aparajit, an active CRY volunteer!

Priyanka had come all the way from her hometown to the ‘city of her dreams’- Mumbai for a job. A few months into the job, Priyanka quickly realised that she didn’t want to just be a corporate lackey; she wanted more purpose to her life. So, in September 2016, she began scouting for more meaningful ways to spend her spare time. CRY was an obvious choice and she knew that working for the children was somehow perfect- she was getting a chance to play the part of a responsible citizen while enjoying what she was doing.

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5 Ways YOU Can Help!

  • Have some free time?
    Volunteer your time and skills, teach, advocate for children’s rights, raise funds, become a changemaker!
  • Really good at something?
    Use your skill to make a difference – it could be anything under the sun, from accounting to photography, from coding to writing for the cause, from data analysis to making films!
  • Witness a child rights violation (child labour, abuse, marriage)?
    Take action. Call 1098, report it immediately!
  • Have resources that could change a child’s life for the better – through education, better health, safer places?
    Pick an NGO that’s working to give children the childhood they deserve and Donate Now!
  • Want to find out other ways in which you can contribute towards creating happy childhoods?
    Visit www.cry.org today!

The India Behind The Smiling Faces

‘O My God! I cannot eat this food’, ‘O My God! I cannot go to college everyday’, ‘O My God! How can I live without the AC?’ Sounds familiar? Surely does to many of us because we grew up taking things for granted and why not when we have seen only a very small part of the world and chose to neglect the not so happy realities. Hallelujah! It is time we start appreciating.

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Painting a Future

It is quite common to hear adults wanting to relive their childhood- to enjoy those days filled with leisure, lost in the dreamland and free from any tension about future. People universally tend to associate this phase to be driven by unprompted and unplanned events. Until very recently, I too held the same view. The story of Rancy from one of CRY’s Gurugram PAG, however, changed my perception. Hearing her story from her teacher and a fellow volunteer, Rahul, I realized that dreaming is an art, the inspiration of which one draws from their surroundings.

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Of Rough Hands and Dreamy Eyes…

May was challenging for the young CRY volunteers. Ignoring the scorching and sultry Kolkata summer, they were to be found in the urban slums of the city, and not in the air conditioned malls their peers were frequenting during their holidays. The volunteers were busy conducting summer camps for the children of the Kolkata slums. In one such, a bunch of them met Sabina*. This little girl lives in the interiors of Ballygunj (otherwise known as one of the posh parts of the city). No! where Sabina lives, there are no jazzy shops or eateries, nor palatial mansions. She lives in a shanty, much like her friends.

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On a Mission to Eradicate Child Labour

They say childhood is the most important and fun-filled phase of our lives – the age when you are free of responsibilities, not bound by boundaries and showered with endless affection. A lot of you may agree with this, but more than half of our population won’t. Living in our protected environments cushioned with all sorts of comforts, we forget to acknowledge the harsh reality most people live in.

Let me take you a little closer. As per the National Census, there are close to 10.1 million child labourers in India, in the age group of 5 to 14 years.

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Books, bricks and a lot more…

 

One of the hardest things to do is break the truth to a child about how the world isn’t as rosy as they are told it is. These words often come from loved ones, parents, family and friends, but when it comes to harsh realities that these very individuals would never wish upon children, they risk raising them in an environment of ignorance. In matters like this, it is up to total strangers to do the needful, often at the expense of seeming purely informative and emotionally removed from the equation.

In an attempt akin to the above, members of the Intern team, here at CRY West, set off to Phoenix Marketcity Kurla, a major shopping centre in east Mumbai to engage with visitors through a few interesting interactions on the occasion of World Against Child Labour Day.

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Breaking the Silence

I still remember the day I got my period. I was in the sixth grade and I came back home to a stained underwear. I remember being so scared that I locked myself up in the bathroom and cried.

I cried because I didn’t know what was happening. While each woman’s menstrual experience is unique, there definitely are aspects which we can prepare young girls for; and that’s what I hoped to achieve. Knowing about our bodies and the changes we go through can relieve us of the stress we’re likely to face when something unexpected happens.

I’m glad I approached CRY. To my surprise, Tanya had already started a program with a similar end goal. Thus, I must begin by thanking Menstrupedia for providing us with the most amazing video.

I must also thank UCB for making my vision of providing good quality cotton pads possible. As mentioned earlier, most women are still using cloth during their periods. Thus, it was important for me to give them a safer, yet familiar alternative.

Finally, I must thank the CRY JMC team for coming onboard and giving it their very best. The relentless effort put in by these 16 girls has set an example for the rest of us.

 

Devika Chopra, Facilitator

The Colours of Childhood

Bachpan ke Rang is a small function that is held in Rajabajar, Kolkata by CRY – Child Rights and You. It is organised for the kids from different schools in the Rajabajar community who come and participate in this event. They play  certain games prepared by CRY volunteers and participate in sessions on art and craft. A bit of dancing, singing and play acting is also roped in that eventually gives a message. The main aim of this event is to ensure that the kids have a lot of fun. All the volunteers give in their 100% to make this event a success. This year as an intern I got the opportunity to be a part of the event and I experienced how in spite of a lot of difficult situations the kids who came to the event really enjoyed themselves.

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The More You Give, The More You Get

I always wanted to do as much as I could to give back to the society I live in. So when the opportunity of volunteering first presented itself to me, I  jumped at it immediately. But one can never really know what volunteering is actually like until one involves oneself into it. Even though I am a newcomer to this activity and only have just close to two months of experience, I would like to share my thoughts on my journey so far.

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