Child Rights and You

To enable people to take responsibility for the situation of the deprived Indian child and so motivate them to seek resolution through individual and collective action thereby enabling children to realise their full potential. And people to discover their potential for action and change. To enable peoples' collectives and movements encompassing diverse segments, to pledge their particular strengths, working in partnership to secure, protect and honour the rights of India's children.
Aug 8, 2014

A Child Rights Advocate

Name of the Child: Ambika (Name changed to protect the identity of the child)

Place of Residence: SM Nagar, Vyasarpadi, Chennai

Ambika (13 yrs) was made to discontinue her education from 7th standard, in the year 2011, from the Kalyanpuram Corporation High School by her parents so that she could help the family cope up with the soaring economy.

Ambika is the eldest of four children. Her mother is a domestic worker and her father is a labourer and a person depending on Alcohol. He hardly gives money to the family and least bothers about the members of the family. It is Ambika’s mother who takes care of the whole family. She works in 3-4 households’ right from early morning till dusk. When she comes home it is usually 8.PM and brings food to the family. All the four children wait in hunger till the mother comes home with food. During the day, it is the mid day meal which feeds the children. The father comes home late night and quarrels with her mother. Sometimes the father also beats up her mother and it is Ambika who pacifies and consoles her bleeding mom. One day her mother explained the family’s economic situation and requested her to quit her school to take up a job in a household as domestic worker. Running errands for the house-hold became her duty for the next six months.

Ambika was born and brought up in the slum of SM nagar, Vyasarpadi. The outskirts of SM Nagar are known for dumping garbage. Moreover, the drinking water provided by the corporation is always a mix of sewage water and the water is all the time black in colour. As a result SM nagar is a hub of communicable diseases. During rainy season, the roads of SM nagar are drenched with garbage and sewage water. Mosquitoes and flies raid all the households. Most of the children in this locality all the time have some physical ailments and visit the hospital for medical treatments. The health centre in SM nagar is most of the time dysfunctional and requires constant advocacy and lobbying with the corporation health officils. It is during one rainy season Ambika attended the children collective meeting of SCSTEDS with her friend and was astonished to hear her friend talk about the problem of mixture of sewage water in the drinking water. Till that day, Ambika was thinking that being poor and a slum dweller it was their fate to drink that water. The members of the collective discussed in detail about the ill-effects and ways in which it could be rectified. Finally, the group also decided to draft a petition for submission to the Local Ward Councilor demanding for quality and safe drinking water. Ambika was very impressed with the group activities. She expressed her wish of continuing her education and joining the group. The group cohesion and the member’s interest towards asserting their rights influenced Ambika to a greater extent. Ambika also understood that education plays a significant role in shaping the group member’s personality. So she voluntarily spoke with SCSTEDS staff on helping her continue her education.

The very next day, SCSTEDS staff visited Ambika’s home and spoke with her parents. Her parents were very stubborn in not sending Ambika to the school. Regular counseling by Community workers and project staff was enabled and after 4 months of continuous intervention, Ambika’s parents were convinced. The academic year 2012 was really a dream come true year for her. She has been admitted in class 8 in the Erikarai Government High School. She now desires to complete her school education and pursue her higher studies in Law. Becoming an advocate is Ambika’s ambition in life.

May 8, 2014

Initiatives & Impact of SCSTEDS during 2013-14

Various initiatives have been undertaken in the project area during the year 2013-14. Please find below a few initiatives and impact the project made to children in the operational area.

Initiatives undertaken in 2013:

  • Petitions submitted to the health department of Chennai Corporation for activating urban health center in SM Nagar and extending the hours of operation to 24 hours.
  • Shared the consolidated data, that was collected in 2012 on malnutrition of slum children, with parents, government officials in order to highlight the requirement for improved services in ICDs.
  • Conducted close monitoring of ICDs centers, staffs and status of malnourished children enrolled in ICDs center.
  • Organized enrollment campaign for re-enrollment of drop-out and children involved in child labour. Conducted anti child Labour day campaign at all the slums and discussed preventive strategy of accessing school to address the issue of child labor.
  • Worked with cadres to address the issue of potential drop out children and forced child marriage.
  • Leadership Camp for the leaders of the 12 Children’s Collective.
  • Developed understanding of the reasons that lead to child marriage in the community and sensitized the community of ill effect of child marriage.

 Impact in Jan 2013 –Dec 2013:

  • 4 new ICDs centers sanctioned and 2 new centers opened.
  • 50 children enrolled at 2 newly opened centers.
  • Achieved sanctioning of toilet for every individual household.
  • Facilitated media coverage on the issues related to child labour in the six working slums of Vyasarpadi by New Indian Express-City express on Anti-Child Labour day (13th June, 2013). The media advocacy resulted in immediate interventions. The Chennai City Corporation Commissioner convened a meeting and the corporation officials have been rolled out a study on the Child Labor scenario in the slums of Vyasarpadi.
  • 28 children identified as child labours and 21 of them reenrolled into schools.
  • A special sports meet was conducted for all the Children of SCSTEDS. Tamilnadu Slum Clearance Board was roped in for conducting the event, with 430 chidren participants.
Dec 11, 2013

GOAL called LIFE

RAJ (14 yrs)(Name changed to protect identity) IS THE LIVING PROOF THAT A LITTLE CONCERN IS ALL IT TAKES TO HELP ACTUALIZE AN INDIVIDUAL’S POTENTIAL…

In 2009, Raj joined the children collective’s of SCSTEDS. Since then, his life has changed dramatically.

It was in October 2008 he took refuge under his maternal aunty residing in Vyasarpadi as both his parents lost their dear lives in an accident. Raj was suddenly affected psychologically and was finding difficult to cope up with the new neighbourhood where every day life was a challenge. It was during this scenario that Mr. Thangaraj of SCSTEDS intervened. He admitted Raj in the neighbouring school and familiarised Raj with the SCSTEDS’ children collectives.

Shortly after joining the Children Collectives, Raj was referred to join the football team of SCSTEDS. Being part of a team, Raj developed employable skills, like showing up on time, working well with others and self-confidence. He stayed connected with his team mates and mentor, Mr. Thangaraj who helped him balance his school education and Soccer practice sessions. Raj participated actively in the children collective activities. His constant involvement and dedication for soccer made him an important forward player in the under 14 STEDS team.  After participating in more than 30 games representing STEDS, Raj was directly selected for the Tamilnadu State under 14 team. Last week he travelled all the way to Mumbai to participate in a soccer match representing Tamilnadu state. This young aspirer tells, “I am happy that I could represent Tamilnadu now. One day will come and I will make into the Indian Football team. This achievement is because of SCSTEDS. Master Thangaraj identified my potentials and guided me throughout. I will equally concentrate on my studies and make STEDS proud”

Young Raj has discovered his love for soccer. He now is one role model for all the children in the slums of Vyasarpadi. He continues to motivate and encourage young children to concentrate on schoolings as well sports.

Raj is presently studying in class 9 at the Corporation Higher Secondary School located at B Kalyanapuram, Vyasarpadi.

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