Today, India has a lot to celebrate. The country’s growth in areas of service sector, infrastructural developments, and scientific breakthroughs are a testimony to its accomplishments. Yet, millions of children are struggling with life and for them education is a distant dream. 1 in every 4 children in the country is out of school and only 33 out of every 100 children finish their class 12th. With lack of access to education, many children cannot even write their own names. The reasons for children being deprived of their right to education include no schools nearby, gender discrimination, early marriage, forced into labour and many more.
When a child is able to go to school, it sets off a cycle of positive change. An educated child stays away from an early marriage and is empowered to stand up against exploitation. In over 3,118 villages and slums across 142 districts in 23 states, CRY – Child Rights and You, an Indian NGO working for children’s rights in India has witnessed major transformation. We have seen children dream big and overcome insurmountable social, economic obstacles through sheer courage and determination to change the world they live in.
Take the example of Naveen hailing from the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. His father’s meagre income was not enough to sustain their day to day life and the young boy had to drop out of school to work at a tea stall. The team at CRY-supported project People’s Organisation for Rural Development on gaining knowledge of his plight immediately started convincing his family to send him back to school. The journey was slow and tedious but with the help and intervention of village authorities, Naveen was enrolled back into school.
Going to school again helped his confidence and cultivated his latent ability of a budding engineer. Naveen noticed that there was a lot of pollution around his school from cooking fires and he began work on finding a solution. His invention of finding an eco friendly, cost effective, zero pollution way to cook won him recognition and awards not only at the district level but nationally as well. Today, Naveen is set on his dream of becoming an engineer and helping children like him also find a way to improve their skills.
In 2015-16, CRY impacted the lives of 6,45,000 children and their families. 9,581 children in the age group of 6-18 years who had dropped out of school were re-enrolled across project interventions in India.
Speaking on plans for the future, Puja Marwaha, CEO- Child Rights and You said “For us at CRY, 2016-17 is a crucial year in widening our supporter base and increasing activities with a large cross-section of stake holders working for the best interest of the child. One of our biggest focuses this year is on ensuring that children get their right to education. The idea is to raise awareness on how school is an important agency in transforming abilities of children into greater possibilities of change. The nationwide campaign – ‘School the Spark’ will impact the lives of 2,52,293 children in the age group of 6 to 18 years in CRY-supported projects. We will be addressing the issues of children dropping out of school, ensuring that schools are Right to Education compliant so that children are provided with the right learning and protective environment and also focus especially on educating the girl child. All in all, the focus will be on giving children a chance to recognise, channelise and develop their abilities to their full potential.”
Visit CRY at www.cry.org and support their mission to ensure a happy and healthy childhood for India’s children.