The crusaders for Child Rights are consistently surpassing themselves while uplifting the lives of several underprivileged children in our nation. These children are not only an inspiration but an idol.
THE UNFADING SPIRIT FOR OUR COUNTRY’S BRIGHTER FUTURE
Meet Mouli*. She lost her father at a very young age, forcing her family to move in with her aunt in Broad Street. To support her mother, Mouli took charge of all the household chores leaving no time for her to study. But that did not stop her from finishing her education with flying results.
Growing up, she had to face many health issues just like most of the residents in her locality due to the unhygienic and unclean provisions around them.
Mouli decided to take charge. Through the several trainings she undertook with Save the Children such as the Child Champions Training, Peer to Peer Sharing etc, she successfully taught the people around her to maintain good practices for a clean and hygienic environment.
Not just that, Mouli is also an Integral part of our Urban Disaster Risk Reduction initiative in West Bengal and is also now a member of the Ward 65 Youth Group named ‘Titans’, to help reduce environmental pollution & disaster risks.
Mouli is a real-life example of what all you can achieve when you set your mind to something. She truly is the light our country needs for a brighter future.*Name and image of the child have been changed to ensure the safety.
THE POWER OF SAYING NO: STORY OF FATIMA
Meet Fatima*. At a young age of she was pressurised into getting married and leave her education.
But she stood her ground and refused her parents’ wishes. Her rebellion unfortunately resulted in being forced to go back to her native village in Bihar, where everyone continued to pressurise her into an early marriage. After her father’s demise, Fatima moved back with her mother, went to her old school and requested her head master to ask her family to let her study. And soon they agreed.
Not just that, Fatima also convinced other girls in her neighbourhood to take up their studies again. With the power of saying “No” to things that were wrong, Fatima has fought for every girl’s right to education, spoken against child labour and discouraged people from getting girls married before the age of 18.
With Save the Children, she received a platform she needed to voice her opinions. She is now a spokesperson for gender equality as she continues to get people realise that a girl child is never a burden but a boon.*Name and image of the child have been changed to ensure the safety.
WHEN ONE VOICE MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE: STORY OF PRAKASH
Meet Prakash*, a warrior for Children’s Right, in his village in Rajasthan.
The incident that changed the course of his life was when Prakash noticed a frightened child on his way to Banswara & found out that he was sold to a shepherd for grazing sheep. Prakash tried to reason with the Shepherd who had bought the child for a mere sum of Rs. 3000 but his attempts were futile. However, this did not discourage him & soon called the police, thus rescuing the child from a future of pain and suffering.
Save the Children identified this fire in Prakash and asked him to join the Executive Committee of Children’s Group in his village. He was with us for 3 years & learnt about the rights of children. He was further trained on various mechanisms available to protect them. This gave him the opportunity to not only raise his voice but become a confident speaker to make people understand the difference between right and wrong.
With the dream of becoming a doctor one day to provide free treatment to the poor, Prakash continues to educate children in his spare time and inspire us with his good deeds and actions.*Name and image of the child have been changed to ensure the safety.
MEET THE BOY WHO STOOD HIS GROUND, EVEN WHEN IT WAS SHAKING
Meet Kumar*, a 14-year-old from the Ramarmadam village of Nagapattinam District
His journey in education started getting hampered when a bridge that lead him to his school was damaged terribly during the Tsunami. And without the bridge, Kumar and the other children would have to walk 4kms daily to get to their school.
He raised this issue during the Gram Sabha meeting, 3 times in a row. When he saw that no action was being taken, he along with many other students of the school submitted a petition to the District Administration for the bridge, on the 14th of November 2016 (Children’s Day).
Because of his undying spirit, the District Collector of Nagapattinam District personally came to inspect the bridge and ordered for the renovation immediately. The bridge was rebuilt with steel plates and iron rods, thus creating a strong and steady foundation for every child’s path to education.
Children like Kumar were able to identify the risks in their village due to the training that they received from Save the Children in partnership with NOKIA & Avvai Village Welfare Society. After the success of him speaking out, Kumar realised the potential and power of words and learnt that if he never steps back, then anything is possible.*Name and image of the child have been changed to ensure the safety.
FROM HOUSEHOLD CHORES TO ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS: THE SPORT CALLED DREAMING
Meet Aabha*. Ever since she was a young child, she knew her passion was cricket. And her family always found her playing this sport with the boys. As she reached her teenage years, they soon put an end to it and forced her to focus on household chores & studies.
It was during this rough time that Aabha joined the “Lalita & Babu” sessions on child marriage and life skill training facilitated by Save the Children’s partner organisation CHARM. This eventually motivated Aabha to revive her dream of cricket & convince her parents to let her pursue the same.
Soon, her parents gave into her constant pleas. However, there was another problem in her way. Her father being a daily wage labourer who was supporting a family of six could not afford the training and had to put his foot down. However, her passion was visible to many around her and they all came to support her. Thus, letting Abha get one step closer to her dreams.
Aabha still believes that her path to fighting for her future started from the first day of her Lalita & Babu sessions. Her story is one of many such inspiring stories that shows us that if we set our minds to something, then anything and everything is possible.*Name and image of the child have been changed to ensure the safety.
FROM STAYING BACK TO MAKING A COMEBACK: STORY OF HARISH
Meet Harish*. Not being able to sustain in Nepal, his father migrated to India and worked as a watchman in Pune for a very low salary.
For Harish, this sudden uprooting from his home was not a smooth one. He could not speak a single word of Marathi, adding on to his anxiety of being in a new place. This affected his literacy and education.
Save the Children along with Doorstep Schools, works in 30 Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) schools. This is how Harish was discovered. To help him overcome his challenges, he was encouraged to attend special classes taken by Academic Support Fellows.
Gradually he started becoming more confident in his skills, and also joined the Children’s Group, where he was trained on the rights of the children through street plays and workshops.
Harish is now an active member of School Management Committee (SMC). He has even managed to mobilise the Children’s Group as a committee to monitor water and sanitation facilities available in his school.
From a shy and quiet child, Harish now fearlessly raises various issues and challenges faced by other children in school.*Name and image of the child have been changed to ensure the safety.
STARTING THE SPIRAL OF CHANGE: STORY OF MEENU
Meet Meenu*, a 19-year-old girl from Sohela. Her father is the sole bread-winner and she has a younger sister and a younger brother. She wanted to pursue her education but due to poor economic conditions, her parents wanted to get her and her younger sister married before the age of 18.
As a part of Save the Children’s ‘Marriage: No Child’s Play’ programme, Meenu was identified by Ms. Shazia, our Cluster Coordinator, and she went on to participate in residential workshop on Lalita Babu Life Skill training. It proved to be a highly enlightening after which she stood up to her parents against child marriage. Her parents had to give in.
Meenu even started taking regular Children Group sessions where she stopped many families from marrying their daughters at a tender age.
She recounts a time, when her parents did not even let her step outside the house unaccompanied. But now, she travels to Jaipur alone. She says that being associated with Save the Children has changed her life completely and had she not been a part of this project, she and her younger sister would have been married by now.*Name and image of the child have been changed to ensure the safety.
BACKBONE, NOT A BURDEN: STORY OF BABITA
Meet, Babita*, an 18-year-old, from a poor tribal Agritarian family. She lives with her parents and a younger brother. Being from a poor family, Babita hasn’t studied beyond 10th standard.. To support her family, she, too, worked as a daily labour. However, her family wanted to marry her early.
It was then, that Save The Children entered her life. The MNCP project intervened in their village and she was selected as a Discussion Leader. Uninterested at first, she later participated in Life Skill Education Training based on Lalita & Babu Approach and learnt many things. After training she continuously conducted sessions of her groups. Her engagement and association with peers built her confidence. From being someone who couldn’t speak in public, she transformed into a person who didn’t shy away from raising her voice.
She went on to join the skill development training for 3 months and is now working at a garment manufacturing company in Chennai. She’s glad and proud that she’s able to financially help her parents and also has developed more as an individual.
Her parents also feel grateful for the growth of their daughter and for realising that daughters aren’t a burden. They’re the spine, they’re the backbone of the family.*Name and image of the child have been changed to ensure the safety.
FINDING AND BUILDING A BETTER WORLD: STORY OF RAJU
Meet Raju*, a 17-year-old from Rani Bhavan Shelter Home. He ran away from his village at the age of 7 as his parents were forcing him to work in the same factory as they worked in. His parents and sister still live in the village, while he’s living in a shelter home in the city away from his family.
But nothing had been easier for him. When he ran away, he sold plastic to feed himself. Further, his first employer was very rude and abusive, which made him run back to his home after a year, at the age of 8. Nothing at his home changed either. His parents again forced him to work and he ran again to find work.
It was then that Save the Children entered his life and he joined Rani Bhavan shelter home. At first he felt like it was a prison, but then he knew that he needed to be contained so that he can move away from only thinking about the next meal and start thinking about his own real future. He’s pursuing his education and wishes to get his own sister to the city. He’s going to be 18 soon and plans to go to college, get a job, and ask her sister to live with her and work enough for her dreams.
He also loves doing Karate, is training for national championship too and believes that it might help him reach the right college.*Name and image of the child have been changed to ensure the safety.
KNOWING THE RIGHT WAY TO WALK THROUGH: STORY OF SHIVAM
Meet Shivam*, a 16-year-old from Delhi. Living in a family of 5 people, he’s the eldest one with two younger sisters. While, his father works in a private sector, his mother is a housewife.
He regularly faces a challenge while going to school. A drainage pipe is broken & water keeps the road flooded throughout the day. By the the time Shivam and other kids reach school, their shoes and school pants are drenched in water. Shivam’s parents cannot afford to pay a regular transport facility that can pick and drop him from his school either.
To get the drainage pipeline fixed, the CCHHC group has written letter to the counsellor of MCD and he has got the pipeline fixed now. And they also had a meeting with the counsellor regarding Stop Diarrhoea Initiative project of Save the Children.
Shivam is now an active member of CCHHC group and on regular basis attends meetings with other group members on WASH related awareness activities, and participates in Child Rights campaigns.
Through Save the Children’s intervention, Shivam feels that he has become confident after knowing his rights.*Name and image of the child have been changed to ensure the safety.