Tuesday, June 3, 2008

'Change for India's forgotten children is possible'

In India, the world's largest democracy, millions of children are still denied their rights. But, this situation can change. This was the clarion call sounded at today's press conference at the Roosevelt Hotel by CRY - Child Rights and You America Inc.

(CRY America), a US non-profit organization that works toward restoring basic rights to underprivileged children, especially in India. Panelists comprising Shefali Sunderlal, President of CRY America and Dr. Niraj Kumar Mishra, Founder of a grassroots organization in India, SATHEE (Society for Advancement in Tribes, Health, Education, Environment) highlighted the continuing dire situation of such children and presented a proven, lasting solution.

At the conference, Sunderlal cited India's stark dichotomy, "Whereas on one side India is experiencing unprecedented economic success, it is yet to attain the most basic social development indicators for its children. Millions of underprivileged children have their survival threatened on a daily basis due to malnutrition, illiteracy, child labor, preventable diseases, abuse and exploitation."

"Sustainable change is possible only if underprivileged communities are actively engaged in seeking solutions collectively and issues are addressed holistically from a social justice perspective", said Sunderlal.

"Through this child rights approach we have witnessed in thousands of villages, 100% of their children are enrolled and retained in schools today, villages are 100% child labor free and thousands of communities have access to Public health facilitates and are together functioning towards the benefit of their children.

Just handing out food or rescuing children from sweat shops are temporary solutions. It is essential for communities to address age old biases such as gender and caste discriminations which are deterrents to lasting change." Mishra presented a firsthand account of the success of the child rights-based approach at SATHEE, a CRY America-supported project. One of SATHEE's various community initiatives is the formation of 'Bal Sansads' (children's parliaments) in villages across Jharkhand.

In these forums, children question their situation in the presence of local officials and demand that their basic rights to education, health, sources of livelihood for their parents, and freedom from labor and exploitation be restored. "Girl children who once were confined to the four walls of the house have now become flag bearers of their communities by having a say in decisions affecting their lives, like saying 'no' to child marriage," said Mishra.

Source: http://indiapost.com/article/usnews/2916/


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

1 comment:

Syed said...

Such issues can be talked about in depth on the portal meant for Indian citizens:

http://www.indiademocracy.org