Dec 9, 2019

The Caravan Journey

To commemorate UNCRC and popularize children’s right to meaningful participation on the theme “Ensuring child rights with child participation”, a child-led caravan traversed the city of Mumbai on 20th of November, the day when the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children) was signed by 196 countries globally.  We believe that children and young people can play a significant role as agents of transformation with the capability to engage in decision-making processes, in accordance with their evolving capacities and gradually increasing autonomy.

 

 The Caravaners

35 Child leaders belonging to the Bal Adhikar Sangarsh Sangatan (BASS) at Mumbai City level traversed the city in the caravan reaching out to many more children, young people and adults, and also duty-bearers and people in the system namely- Corporators, railway police, government officials, etc. educating them about child rights and the power of child participation

 

 The Caravan Journey:

Caravan launch with the Inauguration Event held at Gurukul school, Malwani, around 10.00 AM

Panel discussion with the duty-bearers: School principal Mr. Farid Shaikh, Community Development Officer Mr. Mahindra, Member of CPC and Anganwadi supervisor Ms. Shubhangi Rane, YUVA organization representative, member of Child Safety Support Forum and Women’s Cell Ms. Parineeta, Journalist and Social Activist Mr. Nisar Ali, and Child Representatives from BASS Malwani- Sachin and Shivani- discussed their commitment to child rights and what they can do to ensure meaningful child participation in the system

In attendance were the students of classes 9 to 12 of Gurukul high school and junior college, YUVA staff, bass members, Anganwadi teachers. More than 100 students and children were present.

While addressing the school students the Mr. Mahindra shared his own journey of coming from BMC school and how he faced problems using English while speaking and how he preferred Marathi over English was humorous to learn about.

 

Pooja Yadav while answering the questions asked by a student present there - 1098

Children below 14 years old should not be allowed to work.  As there are constitutional safeguards to protect their rights and it’s a punishable offence to make them work in households and factories.

Every child is important and she enforced, “You all are change makers, you come ahead, you work for them (children). Then change can definitely happen in the society

 

Principal sir,

You all can teach students as giving examples of few who have taken the initiative to teach the students at their own homes. By calling children who are working in nearby hotels. And made them ready for basic education. Minimum literacy. He appreciated Maharashtra government where a student even if he’s not going to school, he can directly appear for class 8th exams and will be eligible for board exams.

Out house schools: for the children who need to work so their houses have inflow of income to survive and sustain. So, it’s not necessary that a student necessarily needs to go school so this option is available and can be promoted.

Also, he asked student, “Can you share your education?”, as every time depending on government will not work. He strengthened his point by stating Malvani population which counts around 9 lacs. And for this large number police force of 1500-1600 should be there. but instead of that the number of police men in marginally low and is 140. It was understood that Manpower is low. Going for regular rounds, while on duty is challenging so you can’t depend on government for everything and every time.

“You need to learn to come forward so that you can benefit the others as you are privileged but not all are. You need to demand for your needs then only it can be provided. Fight and get it. If you can fight you can survive. What you want to do fight for your rights? Or Accept your fate and be silent? And blame the government.

Further, Alicia substantiated Principal Sir’s points by adding, “We need to support the system for the growth. Change can happen if we want”

After the formal discussion Chief guests were felicitated by giving roses and Sumati tai gave certificate of commitment to the guests who were there to attend the Inaugural discussion. Tai was glad that the knowledge which we got was immense from everyone who came and like always powerfully propagated:

“Bal shakti aayi hai..          Nayii roshi aayi hai..          Ladenge..        Jitengee…”

Women’s cell counselor was called on stage and Nisaar sir told students, “utilize time on sports for physical and mental wellbeing.”

 

With this the opening session got over and Alicia requested everyone to move towards the road where the Caravan flag was waiting to be waved. Teachers along with Principal Sir came forth and everyone was led by Zarin and Bala where the bus was on hault.

Nov 8, 2019

Eco Saviours Campaign led by children

Eco Saviours Campaign led by children and youth

But sooner my regret of arriving late turned to excitement when I heard that we have to take frootis for the program still undergoing in the other part of Ambujwadi which is, for the most part, is 'undiscovered' to me. I went ahead with, one of the youth at Ambujwadi and my fieldwork supervisor carrying 2 boxes of frootis. We moved through the gallis and took a few turns and reached the point.

I got to know that the Eco-saviours campaign is a program for saving the environment comprising of a few elements- household waste segregation into dry and wet waste, clean society through society-level waste segregation and clean lanes, and finally ground cleaning at the community level. Today was the ground cleaning activity.

I saw two YUVA staff being circled by the youths as they were giving them instructions regarding the treatment of waste material and to wear gloves while disposing of waste in a bin. As by that time the waste got binned, it was time for refreshing frootis which the staff distributed them. I couldn't help myself but just witness silently, smile and take out my phone and capture them.

As we moved ahead there was a little ground which was littered less than the previous spaces as the team reached there more youths joined us and this time to my surprise kids belonging to the Bal Adhikar Sangarsh Sangatana (BASS) were there in more numbers. The staff again instructed them, and they wore plastic gloves, collected the litter here and there and disposed of in a small bin. And after the cleanup drive, everyone including the youth and kids proclaimed they will keep it clean time and time again. In the end, they were put in two small queues and were sent to wash their hands and small packets of water were provided to quench their thirst as it was hot and sunny outside.

I was amazed that on a day like Sunday when entertainment, Internet, games, social media are in the reach of their pocket they turned up for the campaign and they were in numbers counting more than 100.

I felt they are more sensitized towards the issue of unclean spaces and taking the initiative towards a cleaner, better community and be the change-makers and leaders of tomorrow. As there were few who could not receive the campaign cap of 'Eco Saviours' but were still present and zealously helping others in cleaning the litter.

While returning back from the community with staff and kids I purposely and inaudibly stepped back to capture them.

"The SAVIOURS of the day"

With what I have witnessed I could say Eco Saviours Campaign is a collective action to save the environment and includes the ecological child rights aspect.

Under this campaign, Children planned 3 parts:

  • Waste segregation and kitchen gardening.
  • Ground cleaning
  • Clean society award
Sep 18, 2019

Educational kit for Children

Due to the economic insecurities and financial hardships that people residing in communities in Mumbai face on a daily basis, they find it difficult to access their basic rights and services. One of the major challenges of the people has been to get proper educational facilities for their children.

To help fill the gap and facilitate their access to education, Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA) conducted a distribution drive among the communities where notebooks, pencils, erasers, sharpeners and other stationery items were handed out to the children of the communities.

Given that the monsoon season was just around the corner, umbrellas were also distributed among the communities to help them gear up for it and be rain-ready.

The distribution drive received a positive response from the community as they received the required support and a helping hand to access the basic facilities, precisely, education. The community children were delighted at the support received from YUVA.

 
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