Bal Ashram children in the international film festival,14 November 2009 Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh – 10 Rescued bonded child labourers who are currently under going rehabilitation at Bal Ashram, Virat Nagar , would participated in 16th International Children’s Film Festival which was held in Hyderabad from November 14, 2009 .Creativity and personality development among children is the supreme importance of Children's Film Society of India. In their relentless effort to foster the same, the Society is organizing a film fest in the city from the 14th of November. Awards for the best will be given away to films screened at the fest in 8 categories. In the past, films that were recognized at forums and events of international importance gained good market when they were released into the market. Speaking on this joyful occasion, founder of the movement and recipient of recent Defender of Democracy award, Mr. Kailash satyarthi said, “It’s a matter of great pride and happiness for BBA family that Master Manan Ansari, a rescued child labourer from Bal Ashram has been selected as one of the jury members in the Children’s film festival. This is for the first time that any child has been included in the team that decides on the best cinematic works from an international platform.” The 14 year old Manan is jubilant with honor, rising from an obscure village in Jharkhand’s poverty Stricken Koderma, has also addressed the gathering at the International Labour Conference in Geneva, 2009. Manan recalled that, “Working in the mica mines was a tough work and inspite of that, the residents of my village cling to it tenaciously because that was their source of livelihood. I was fortunate enough to get rescued and reach to Bal Ashram and to get a new life. I am a different person today and I owe all my success to Bal Ashram”. Nandita Das, Chairperson, Children Film Society of India, who has been associated with BBA for many years now said, “I have worked with BBA on many occasions before and have been in constant touch with the children of Bal Ashram. I congratulateall the Bal Ashram children and Bachpan Bachao Andolan on this outstanding achievement”. The festival, which was jointly organised by the Andhra Pradesh Government and Children’s Film Society of India (CSFI), would be inaugurated by Chief Minister K Rosaiah at Lalita Kala Thoranam. Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting Ambika Soni was chief guest and other noted filmmakers, writers, poets, lyricist Gulzar were presented on the occasion among other prominent personalities. The movies would be screened at eight venues including Imax theatre in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
From car cleaners to class toppers
Give us a chance! We will prove we are the best! (Kinshu Kumar, Former child labour)
25 children, mainly first generation school learners, aged between 8 and 15 years, under going rehabilitation in Bal Ashram, excelled in the annual examination of 2009, conducted by the Rajasthan State Board of Examination. Kinshu Kumar former child labour rescued by Bachpan Bachao Andolan in 2002 from Mirzapur, UP, stood first in the entire school in the third consecutive year, with a percentage of 90.6.
Sothana government school is the nearby school of Bal Ashram where the children of government officials, teachers, business people and other well established people are getting education. Bal Ashram Children also study in the same school. But the children of Bal Ashram present impressive results and thus proved their strong will to achieve education and a strapping determination to excel in academics.
Out of several students who achieved distinction, one of the students, Manan Ansari, who was rescued from mica mines, Kodarma, Jharkhand by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA, in 2007 and brought to bal Ashram for rehabilitation) has scored 80.27% in 7th Standard Final Exams.
“First position in my class is my sweet revenge to the trafficker and my former employer who put me in the slavery and darkness” Manan Ansari.
Like Manan, there are students who, despite past circumstances, proved their spirit and will to excel in life, their names are as follows:
Student Name Class Percentage Rank/position Kinshu Kumar 8th 90.6 1st Amarlal 8th 84.22% 2nd Manan Ansari 7th 80.50% 1st Virendra Singh 6th 76.05% 2nd Sandeep Kumar 6th 75% 2nd Banti Kumar 8th 71.11% 4th Dhara Singh 9th 72% 3rd Kailash kumar 7th 72% 2nd Billu Kumar 5th 66.28% 1st Mukesh Kumar 5th 65.71% 2nd
Puran kumar Banjara, Omprakash Gurjjar, Suman kumar, Abdulsalam, Nittu kumar, Pradeepsen, Abdul Malik, Mo. Samsur, Rakesh Sada, Suresh Kumar, Rahul dube, Pradeep Mehata, Shankar Kumar, Bhupati Kumar, Vishal Kumar,
The Head master of the Sothana Public School said that Kinshu, Amarlal, Manan and all the Bal Ashram children did extremely well in the examination and the school is hoping that these children will perform better in the future. He also added that “we are very proud of these children and have increased the prestige of the school with their results and raised the bar higher”.
Bal Ashram Director Mrs. Sumedha Kailash appreciated all the above children with awards and gifts. During the award ceremony she said that “Bal Ashram is proud to have these children in the Ashram and I am confident enough that theses children will do much better in the future”. She also valued the efforts of Bal Ashram staff who helped the children to achieve such good result.
All the above children had a traumatic past and have a terrible story of humiliation, torture and bondage to share the world. The aura of Bal Ashram gives them back their childhood without a burden but with a lightness of freedom and this resulted a better academic performance.
Mini Olympics -2009
Bal Ashram Children recently went through an exercise to create the local version of the Olympics, the international and largest sports event -Mini Olympics in Bal Ashram as a part of the annual day celebrations.
65 children along with Bal Ashram staffs participated in the various sporting events. Bal Ashram children were alienated into four groups namely Red, White, Green & Orange and they themselves selected the captain and a vice-captain of their team. All the four houses participated in all the events.
The events were started with the marching of the four various groups. There were 18 events organized for children at Bal Ashram. Some of the events as follow;
There were 18 events organized for children at Bal Ashram. Some of the events as follows: Marching, Sack Race, Tug of war, banana eating context, 50m sprint race, long jump, endurance Race, Cricket throw, Relay, Musical Chair and so on. Children participated with enthusiasm and energy. There was a new competitive spirit observed in them and all the children wanted their group to win.
Some of the children came with outstanding performances and shown their talents in endurance race, sprint, long jump etc. namely Bajrang in endurance race and 50m race, Puran, Billu, Samsur, Kinsu, Ajai.
Through this event children could experience the beauty of unity and team spirit. The division of children in to four groups generated we feeling in the group as well as the good understanding and effort among group members. This event also leads the children to have better understanding about the various sporting events and its rules and regulations.
The objectives of the events • To build up the competitive spirit and enthusiasm among children • Endow with an opportunities to each child and participation of all children in each event • To have better idea and understanding about various Olympic events • To provide the opportunity to team work and cohesiveness and effort among groups • To build up self confidence and courage among children and to know their talents. • To provide child friendly atmosphere among children • To increase the spirit of participation and homely environment.
The Ashram staff also participated in various events along with the children and which gave the children some sort of inspiration to participate in all events. Overall the entire event was very successful. The children showed their interests and enthusiasm and were very active and dynamic in all the events. At the end of the events the prizes were distributed on the basis of individual as well as group performances.
Annual Cultural Fest for all children, which would be organized in the month of June 2009.
Dear all, Here’s wishing you a merry Christmas and Hapy New Year! Attached is a brief update on two events that saw the participation of Bal Ashram children and Director. Hope you enjoy reading them. Your comments/suggestions are welcome.
"These children will shine like stars, I congratulate Bal Ashram for their success and this programme has made us also are more sensitized by problems that these children encounter"- Honorable Chief Justice of India, Justice Mr. K. G Balakrishnan
On the eve of Children's Day, Chief Justice of India, Honorable Justice Mr. K. G Balakrishnan promised former child labourers rescued by BBA that the time would soon come when child labour and exploitation of children would be eliminated from society. In a programme organized by the National Legal Service Authority (NLSA) with Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), the Honorable Justice was joined by other eminent judges from the Supreme Court and the High Court. 30 children, from Bal Ashram and a child friendly village, Rajasthan, had an interactive question and answer session. At the beginning of the programme, Bal Ashram children performed a skit weaving the true story of how children in many parts of the country are still in the grip of child labour and illiteracy and how important education is for a bright future. It won the hearts of the judges.
During the programme Bal Ashram children had the opportunity to interact with The Chief Justice of India and other Justices of Supreme Court. Some of the questions asked by the Bal Ashram children and its answers by different Justices are are as follows:
Q- Pradeep Kumar (Bal Ashram) who was rescued at the time when he was being sacrificed by his parents, wanted to know – "Whenever children complain, the police say that they would take action; but then nothing happens as the employers go scot-free. What should we do in such a situation?
Ans – Chief Justice of India Justice K. G Balkrishnan replied - "Children or anybody can write to National Legal Service Authority (NLSA) or to the Supreme Court Legal Services and we would take action and any such reports would be welcomed."
Q- Rakesh, 12 years and a child labourer for 6 years asked – "There are so many street children and many are trafficking for forced labour. Why are authorities not taking action against the traffickers and what measures should be taken to solve this issue?"
Ans – Honorable Justice Mr. Arijit Pasayat echoed the same statements as the Chief Justice of India's and said - "You can write complaints on a post card and send it to the Supreme Court and action would be taken against your complaint."
During the conclusion of the programme, Honorable Chief Justice of India, Justice Mr. K. G Balakrishnan expressed his happiness at the children and their wise, probing questions. He said –"These children will shine like stars. I congratulate BBA for their success and this programme has made us also are more sensitized by problems that these children encounter."
The President of BBA, Mr. Ramesh Gupta said that this group of confident children after all that they went through shows that there is hope in the society. And this is right message on the children's day.
Bal Ashram shines at the Clinton Global Initiative- Asia meeting Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), one of the world's most renowned organizations organized 'CGI Asia Meeting' from 1-3 December 2008 in Hong Kong, to discuss about the latest developments on the issues of Education Energy and Climate Change, and Public Health'. Mrs. Sumedha Kailash, the director of Bal Ashram was one of the special invitees of this meeting. Former US President- Bill Clinton, Ban-ki-Moon (Secretary General, The United Nations), Gloriya Macapagal Arroyo (President, Republic of the Philippines), and The President of Singapore were among the many dignitaries of the meeting.
Clinton Global Initiative stands to turn ideas into action to help the world move beyond current state of globalization to a more integral community of shared responsibilities and values.
There were three working sessions in the meeting and Mrs. Sumedha represented Bal Ashram in the session that discussed education. She spoke of her experiences of working with children disadvantaged because of health, gender, geography, economic, or political reasons. She said that "Globalisation has brought about several polarities and that is what the world is trying to grapple with. But education is the primary force which would ensure that the fruits and benefits of globalization reach all people, especially the marginalised sections."
Mrs. Sumedha Kailash also met the Mr. Bill Clinton and discussed about the issues of child labour and education in India. Mr. Clinton appreciated the work of Bal Ashram as well as Bachpan Bacha Andolan (BBA) for the elimination of child labour. During the interaction, Clinton also asked about Kalu Kumar (Rescued and rehabilitated in Bal Ashram) whom he met in 2000 with the founder of BBA, Kailash Satyarthi.
Ms. Sumedha Kailash also expressed herself to International Actress Michelle Yeoh and Jet Li, well known actor and the founder of One Foundation and discussed about the activities of Bal Ashram and Child Labour issues in India.
Children in Transformation
In the second quarter (Apr-Jun’08) there were 94 children who are undergoing various kinds of rehabilitation. The distributions of 94 children who are undergoing rehabilitation in Bal Ashram are as follows: 1 Trade Number of children School Going Children 29 Non formal education 38 Motor Winding 08 Painting 08 Welding 01 Carpentry 02 Tailoring 08
It was exam result time and children came out with flying colours. Many children stood first in their classes and the following table details the results, class wise:
Name of the child Class Position in the class percentage Ram Lal 4 First 56.57 Sandeep 5 Second 63.14 Virendra Kumar Singh 5 First 78. 14 Samsoor 6 Third 57.55 Kailash 6 First 64.16 Pradeep Sen 7 Fifth 62.76 Kinshu Kumar 7 First 88.85 Amar Lal 7 Third 69.83 Dhara 8 Third 82.78
Kinshu Kumar stood first in the school with 88.85 % marks. Prize distribution ceremony was also held for these children in which Tehsildar (Head of the county), Mr. Ram Ratan, Mr. Nayab and Smt. Sanju Parik distributed colors, books, note books and other playing materials to these children. Director Bal Ashram, Smt. Sumedha Kailash gifted nine bicycles to these children.
By the endless effort of Bal Ashram children, letter with signature of about 1200 people, demanding ban on child labor and effective implementation of laws were sent to the Honorable Chief Minister of Rajasthan and to all the District Magistrates and government administrators of Rajasthan.
In the month of March, children of Bal Ashram participated in Bal Mela (Children’s festival) and presented a cultural program through which they sent a massage to the children parents and community members regarding the issue of child labor and importance of education.
A work shop cum training programme was organized for the children of Bal Ashram by Dr Anand on stress management through proper breathing techniques. As there are some children who have been traumatized in their past, this workshop helped children and the staff to enhance the knowledge and importance of stable and calm mental status.
On 13 March 2008 a medical camp and quarterly medical checkup was organized in the Ashram for the children. Apart from these, a yoga shivir (Yoga Classes) for the children was also organized on 5-6 March 2008 and on 13th March 2008 for the children.
On 21st and 22nd of March 2008, Holi (Festival of Colors) was celebrated. Children played with colors and enjoyed the festival with staff members and volunteers. In evening they presented a colorful program- sang and danced all the way and relished the festive sweets and fruits.
A lot of visitors from overseas as well as from various parts of India came to Bal Ashram to meet and interact the Bal Ashram children to know about the rehabilitation process and the functioning of Ashram.
One of the Bal Ashram children Banti, the Pogo Amazing Kid Award winner in leadership category was invited by Derek O’ Brien (a nationally renowned quiz expert who produces a quiz show for children all over the country) to participate in their Bournvita Confidence Champion, in which they choose 12 children from the entire country, who are all-rounders).
Bal Ashram children also took part in South Asia Congress on Child Labour and Education. On this occasion Honourable Education Minister, Mr. Arjun Singh, former Vice President of India Sri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat; Chief Minister of Delhi, Smt. Sheela Dixit; and other eminent personalities and children from India and the other countries took part. Bal Ashram children addressed the gathering and expressed their views on the issues related child labor, child trafficking and education.
10th anniversary of Bal Ashram was celebrated on 17th April 2008, in a very colourful manner. All the children and staffs joined their hands together and presented colorful programs of songs and dance. On this occasion many competition such as cricket match, sprint (300 metre, 200 meter and 100 meter), painting competition etc was organized for the children. As apart of the anniversary programme Ashram children also visited science museum, and many tourist spots in Delhi. This tour really helped children to enhance their knowledge on different subjects.
A painting exhibition Show your Hope’ was also organized in the Bal Ashram from 3-5-08 to 5-5-08 with the help of Foundation 80 Question. In this painting exhibition story teller Mr. Martin Scheet displayed some of the paintings made by people around the world depicting their hope. Martin was touring the entire world where he organized a painting workshop, would collect the best paintings and take them with him to tell their stories to the people of the world.
A programme was organized on 24th April 2008, as part of the Global Action Week to sensitize the children on different related issue of child labor and importance of quality education in life. Children were also taught World’s Biggest Lesson and were given a lesson on the importance of good and qualitative education in life and for better future.
A one day workshop was organized for the children of Bal Ashram On 5th June 2008- world environment day was observed. On this day all the children were informed about the importance of trees for a balanced environment and were also given orientation on global warming.
Bal Ashram also celebrated World Day Against Child Labor on 12 June 2008, on this day all the children took oath to work for the elimination of child labour and protection of child rights.
Apart from these activities classes on physical education and sports, cultural education, social education, non formal education, group discussion and vocational training etc were organized on daily basis. Cultural program and meditation at the end of every day helped the children to rejuvenate their energy to start up a fresh new morning.
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