MANORATH - We Voice Rights for All Children

About CRY

For over 30 years now, CRY – Child Rights and You has worked on the reasons why children are deprived of rights. Every year, CRY together with 200 partner NGOs across 18 states works to address the root causes of exploitation, deprivation and inadequate livelihood options that constrain the rights of children. This collective action permanently changes the lives of over 6 lakh children in 6700 villages and slums each year, who live learn and grow well. None of these micro-miracles would have been possible without public support – every year, 2 lakh individuals, come together from all walks of life to stand up for their belief in the rights of children.

CRY’s mission is to enable people to take responsibility for the situation of the deprived Indian child. We motivate people to confront the situation through collective action thereby giving children and themselves an opportunity to realize their full potential.

Manorath is one such Volunteers group with CRY which through its endeavors is voicing Rights for all children.

Manorath is a group of volunteers with Child Rights & You (CRY). Manorath members see themselves as campaigners for change. Our first campaign focuses on the right to educationfor all children in the NCR region. Manorath sees it growing as a movement to ensure every child the right to childhood.

RTE Campaign Mission:~To ensure that every child in India gets free compulsory n& quality education.
~To ensure state responsibility and accountability to provide free, compulsory, equitable and quality education to all children through public system of education.

RTE Campaign Objectives:~Create public opinion of RTE
~Mobilise the citizens of India to stand up for RTE
~Demand that state implements a common school system
~Ensure that educational institutes are equipped with holistic development of every child.

RTE Action Plan:~Capacity building as a collective : Enabling ourselves to lectures, discussions, readings and focused group discussion and forming study group on child rights
~Conducting research survey audits and document findings to enhance knowledge on RTE.
~Filing of Public interest litigation (PILs) and Right to education (RTIs) as and when required.
~Participating and organizing rallies, protests demand charters, workshops, seminars and conferences on RTE

To Join Manorath
Email : OR
Call Amit Aggarwal +91-9717277599

Thursday, October 7, 2010

We and Them

Today, while discussing the works of Jawahar Lal Nehru and Monica Ali with my friend over a cuppa at the Oxford Book Store, epiphany struck me... That I was only among a smattering percentage of India's vast demography who had been to a high school and would be successfully completing her junior college ( graduation)... About 60% of girls my age in the country would have dropped out of college till now, would be married, raising kids and doomed forever to live a life of diffidence, impoverishment and ignorance. The boys would be working as cheap labour for factories, as domestic workers, as roadside beggars or worse still, as pimps and drug dealers... Sadly, education like most of the basic things in the country, is still not egalitarian. Though the middle class and the upper class is well educated, education in the proletariat is still elusive. The blame game names corrupt politicians, inefficient governments, inactive government teachers and also, the slimy and ugly working class as those responsible. Passing the buck, is , funnily, the typical Indian way to renounce responsibility. But let us, the educated and the morally conscious ones, introspect a little. When was the last time you saw a below 18 child working in your known ones' place as a servant? When was the last time you ignored / snapped the child who was begging at the red light while you were in your air- conditioned car? What is the most that we have done for the underpreviliged ones ? The most ,that we have done for them is given a meal, some worn out clothes, that stale mithai,the extra "dal" or 15-30 Rs. But the solution lies not in giving the ends to them,BUT IN GIVING THE MEANS!!!! That's where the Right to Education ( RTE ) comes in , that declares the education of under 18 as compulsory in the eyes of law. But the law is only like a gun without bullets, till the time it is not implemented hook, line and sinker in every community and in every household... When we make sure that EVERY child goes to school, and NO ONE DROPS OUT!! The India of our dreams will be a reality only when we educate each and every child, irrespective of the caste, sex and class he / she belongs to,rather than hiding it behind the enamor of our intellectual elites. CRY ( Child Rights and You) gave me the opportunity to work towards the cause that I strongly believe in, so that I could help, in whichever way I can towards the development of the children of the country. For I believe that the INDIA of our dreams will someday be.... The India of our dreams will be when "THEY" become "US"..

By Divyani Rattanpal

When was the last time you took a postcard seriously?

While deciding for a campaign, always be flexible as it might be that you would have to change your approach.Example : Dwarka postcard campaign. Initially it was decided that we would go for RTE campaign and target 25% reservation for EWSchildren in private schools. But after initial surveys we realised that first the government schools need to be disciplined.More than 50 households were surveyed in the Bharat vihar colony, Dwarka. Since there were Nagar Nigam and Rajkiya Sarvodaya school in the nearby area, so the survey had questions concerning government schools in the area as well. While going through the surveys it became apparent that locals were more interested in issues concerning government schools.What also compelled us to shift our focus was the apprehension that locals had for private schools.Since the RTE was implemented this year only and it was not binding on private schools to accomodate all the provisions in the Bill,we decided to shift our focus from private to governement schools. Once clear in our approach ,the volunteers started visiting Nagar nigam schools in the area.Soon we realised that we were right in shifting the focus as issues ranging from makeshifttent classrooms to corporal punishment to unhygenic washrooms,came forth.
Leading upto the campaign was an extensive awarness campaign and eventually we ended up with 70 odd postcards from children.With help from jurist Ashok aggarwal, we took the issue to the Delhi government through the postcard campaign. A bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Manmohan (Delhi High court) converted the postcards sent by these students into a public interest litigation (PIL) saying "it is a serious matter'' since it highlighted the shortcomings in implementation of the recently enacted Right to Education Act and sought a reply from the MCD and Delhi government by August 18.
A final word of advice: Do not worry about the legal hurdles that might come up once the issues (Child Rights) are raised.Since its easier to tackle government bodies than it seems. RTI (though we didnt use it), local activists and little persuasion are all thats required.

(This article is by Dhruv Anand, one of the lead volunteers of Adhikaar - a CRY Dwarka group. The postcard campaign was highly successful. And that is an understatement.)

A Tale from the Margins

Bhagirath sat huddled on the earthen floor with his demure wife. As I entered his tent, he looked up inquisitively and waved to a dry spot opposite him. Inside, a few bundles of clothes and vessels caught my attention. It had been pouring non stop on a July afternoon when I had taken respite in the make shift home of two construction workers in South Delhi. These were farmers who had arrived in the city, a few months back to embellish the pavements for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

“The City is very different” Bhagirath opened the conversation. “Yes” I politely consented. “It’s not like the village where everyone knows each other. The milk here is like water. Back home my neighbors are looking after my fields. By the way, which village are you from,” he asked and “where do you study?” He swished out his mobile phone for a second to check his message while I marveled at his exuberance.

“Any children?” I asked Bhagirath. “Two. Both Boys” he answered proudly. They were tucked away in a private boarding school in a village in Madhya Pradesh in Southern India. I pointed at a small child dancing in the rain.” Whose kid is that? Does he go to school?” “Our neighbor’s. They are from Rajasthan. He goes to a nearby government school for a few hours a day”. “You must be missing your own boys”, I asked Bhagirath’s wife. Her eyes moistened as she nodded.

I quickly changed the topic. “Was yours a love marriage?”“No.Arranged.The elders decided” Bhagirath explained. He was only 9years old when he was betrothed to his wife Suraj who was 7 years. The game of courtship was not allowed in his village. Speaking of games, I asked. “Will you watch the Commonwealth Games” “What do we have to do with the Games”, he shrugged. “After work finishes we will move on, in search of more work”.

A wise teacher once told me that everything we see around us are symbols which represent something. As individuals what we wear, what we say, what we think each day, brings to the table a different self. Similarly as a city we try and do the same. Delhi is trying to portray itself as a pretty postcard. But are not we trying too hard.

If a painter gives his brush to a layman to paint an idea, it would not have the desired impact. The Games can be seen as a project where a similar discord has taken place. A juxtaposition of two opposite ends of the spectrum, between the people who visualized the landscapes and the people who are trying hard to implement it. Rustics like Bhagirath.

“Will you remember us?” Bhagirath and his wife shyly asked. Photographs had been clicked. Smiles exchanged. They had the satisfied glow of having been the perfect hosts for an hour and I was thankful for their warmth. On the other hand Bhagirath and the thousands of construction workers like him are also the City’s guests. The first guests.They have crept in slowly from the margins only to return to their native villages, much before the Games have begun.

Post by Gehena Chauhan.
Photos by Arjun Khosla.