Friday, June 20, 2008

Uttar Pradesh: Story of three girls

Uttar Pradesh: Story of three girls

Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi 20/6/2008 1:17:41 PM(IST)

Jyoti-- 11years old daughter of Mr. Subhash is living in slum Baghwanala in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh, India. She belongs to ''Gaud' caste. Which is considering as backward caste in Indian caste based society.

Subhash had left his house for ever when Jyoti was only 4 years old and till now nobody have any information about him. After this incident Jyoti grandmother expelled her mother Mrs. Lalmani with all children from house. Now Mrs. Lalmani with her children is living in her maternal house. Jyoti is eldest among her two brothers and one sister. The economic condition of Jyoti’s grandfather’s is nastiest. He work as labour for making boxes and earn 1000 Rupees per month he finds difficulty in managing need of his family member in this nominal income.

Jyoti has interest in study since her childhood. She completed her study up to class fifth from Non-formal Education Centre, Baghwanala supported by Jan Mitra Nyas,CRY and Sir Dorabji Tata Trust . However nastiest economical condition is hurdle in her education. She has been participating in many street-plays and is committed towards education. Jyoti aim is to be a doctor where she can serve poor and helpless people like herself. When her dream will come in reality it will be decided by time. If she gets economical assistance, she may fulfil her dream. Jyoti has participated in many Dharna/Protest programme on the issue of school in her slum area and stated her views on 'Right to Education' to many newspapers and news channels. The entire critical situation which Jyoti faces from her childhood polish her to expresses her views like a matured person and she is very serious from now. During a Dharna programme in front of District Headquarter, Varanasi on 'Right to Education', she said to ACM 4th that if administration does not open a school in our area then will study in front of DM office. It denotes her strong determination and tendency towards education.

Pooja-- daughter of Mr. Shiv Kumar is residing in Baghwanala, an urban slum area in Varanasi distict of Uttar Pradesh, India. She belongs to brazier community.

Pooja’s mother Late Saraswati Devi passed away during delivering a child that time Pooja was only 18 month old. The new born baby also died after one month. After three month of this incidence Pooja's father Mr. Shiv Kumar arrange his second marriage with her Aunt (Pooja’s mother younger sister). From then exploitation of Pooja started. Her new mother behave like step-mother and due to that, these children did not get affection of their father also.

Pooja's father is a weaves sari on another person loom and earns 1000 Rupees in a month which is irregular. Pooja's has one brother Gautam who is deaf and dumb and a sister Julie.

From long time Pooja is take care by her old aged grandmother living with her grand mother. When Pooja was very small she has to do household work. Pooja is a calm and she speaks less and most of her time is spends in her studies. In the lack of facility her childhood is suppressed. She completed her study up to fifth class from a Non-formal Education Centre, Baghwanala. She is facing economical problem for further study and her step- mother is also not willing for her further studies. However, Pooja is entirely committed towards education and she likes to study very much. Her dream is to be a doctor and serve poor and helpless people. Pooja may marry at early age in the lack of money and her dream will be burnt in the fire. If she gets economic assistance, she may nourish her dream. She is also actively involved in the group of street-play team and they themselves prepare the themes of the play. She performed street-play at the District Headquarter, Varanasi and so many other places. She has expressed her views to many newspapers and news channels.

Chanda-- daughter of Mr. Kishor. Chanda is resident of urban slum Baghwanal in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. She belongs to 'Rajbhar' caste. Now the economic condition of her family is very pitiable. Earlier Chanda father weave sari but after plight of this industry he started driving rickshaw. However due to bad physical condition he is unable to drive rickshaw.

Chanda's mother Mrs. Bhagwati hardly manages the need of family and medical treatment of her husband by selling vegetables. She earns only 1000 Rupees per month. Mrs. Bhagwati already took debt for the treatment of her husband. Chanda completed her study up to class fifth from a Non-formal Education Centre, Bagwanala and now she is willing for further education. Even Chanda family member are not getting two times food properly, in this situation, what Chanda's mother can do; providing food or education to children?

Chanda, an energetic girl he has interest in study once she tried to pay her school fees by selling banana. However that was not sufficient. In spite of these hurdle situations Chanda is willing to attain further study and for that she is ready to work as maid servant in anybody house.

Chanda's aim is to be a teacher so she can teach poor and helpless children. Chanda is actively involved in the group of street-play and performed her talent at many places. She expressed her views to many newspapers and news channels. If she can not get any opportunity for further education, her aim will be washed out as she washes plates.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Education and learning against child exploitation, says Lenin Raghuvanshi

Education and learning against child exploitation, says Lenin Raghuvanshi
Nirmala Carvalho
On World Day against Child Labour, the Indian activist calls for better schooling for everyone as the only solution to the problem. Some 55 million children live in slave-like conditions, especially among the lowest castes of society.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – “The only feasible path to solve the problem of child labour is to guarantee children a better level of education,” said Lenin Raghuvanshi, director of the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), on the eve of “World Day against Child Labour” which is scheduled for tomorrow, 12 June.

In an interview with AsiaNews, the Indian activists and 2007 Gwangju Prize for human rights laureate said that “more than 55 million children are working in India,” mostly “from Dalit, Tribals and other backward castes in India” and “all out of school,” which is “cause for great concern.”

In spite of its booming economy, “India is still very much a patriarchal and caste-based society with gender discrimination. The destructive effects of gender discrimination, patriarchal oppression and the semi-feudal society so prevalent in 21st century India are manifest in our 55 million children, employed at times in subhuman conditions.”

Many of these children are under the age of five and put their lives at risk for a miserly salary. Similarly, “a large fraction of these child labourers are working as slaves, bonded to their “jobs”, Lenin Raghuvanshi explained, with no means of escape or freedom, often stuck in their “job” until they repay their parents’ loans.

These children do a variety of things: silversmithing, tea farming, stone quarrying, cigarette making, fireworks, fishing, embroidery, and much more. An untold number is also forced to serve as domestics, shop boys, prostitutes, and involved in child trafficking. Many even end up mutilated and forced to beg.

Child labour is closely related to poverty and the lack of a proper education, especially when parents cannot first maintain their children. The situation is more complicated for girls, who live in a shadowy world, taking care of their younger siblings and helping their mothers in house chores rather than going to school.

“Education,” insisted the Indian activist, “is a fundamental right of the child, and the government is preparing a reform that would make education free until the age of 14 in accordance with Article 21A of the Indian Constitution.”

For him “the entire education policy should be geared towards providing children with quality education without discrimination. Instead caste, gender and corporal punishment are still responsible for an early dropout rate, which forces children into the child labour market.”

In Raghuvanshi’s opinion, the “Scheduled Castes and Tribes Act should be improved to prevent atrocities and discrimination against backward classes and provide more resources.” But is needed above all is “a cultural change that eliminates the tragedy of child labour at its roots”.

In 2004 the Indian activist “adopted” three villages and a suburb in a trial project called “Jan Mitra Gaon” or “people-friendly village” that included the reopening of primary schools, the end of forced labour, making education for girls compulsory and the adoption of non-traditional education practices.

In vast areas of the Indian countryside primary education is non-existent, but the PVCHR was able to open educational facilities for children in 45 villages.

Friday, June 6, 2008