Monday, 31 January 2022

Bridge courses, mental well-being part of state roadmap for learning

 Bridge courses, mental well-being part of state roadmap for learning

Jan 31, 2022 | THE TIMES OF INDIA

The focus in the next academic year would not be limited to just improving the fundamental learning objectives of the students, but also helping them with their mental well-being.

While another learning loss survey would be conducted to gauge where the students stand so that a roadmap can be prepared for what more needs to be done to bridge courses as well as for planning extra classes, there would also be programmes to mentor children and help them tide over the two years of gap in offline education they encountered, officials from the education department said.

Apart from this, the state has also planned to reduce drop-out rate and encourage girls’ education by adding standards VIII to XII in neighbourhood schools where classes are only up to Std VII.

The change would be reflected in the textbooks itself as bilingual textbooks are being introduced to improve student engagement and language skills.

“From next year, we will introduce a single textbook formula to reduce the weight of school bags carried by students every day. This will be introduced in Std I from the academic year 2022-23 and will be implemented for all primary classes later. Once the new State Curriculum Framework is designed, work will also be cut out for us to revive the textbooks as per the new Education Policy,” Krishnakumar Patil, director of Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production & Curriculum Research (Balbharati), said.

Unlike this year, when students received the textbooks months after the academic year began, they will be delivered on time, Patil added.

Vikas Garad, deputy director of State Council of Educational Research and Training, said that the next academic year will focus on introducing more co-curricular activities for better interaction between pupil and teachers as well as among pupils. The focus will also be on a robust assessment process, and more emphasis on the mental well-being of the child.

“As you know due to online education, there is limited teacher-pupil interaction and there is almost no peer learning. We are seeing a trend where students are lagging not just in classwise learning objectives, but also behaviourally, there are some drawbacks. Our priority is that in the coming years, we would try to bring things back to normal and in this project, we would also seek help from child psychologists, counsellors, NGOs and interested parties. A school is like a small ecosystem where the student gets to learn life skills too. While academics is a major part of it, so are things like working in a team, accepting failure, helping each other, working with people from different backgrounds and thinking processes which we learn along the way in schools. We also need to inculcate reading habits in them and de-addicted from online devices. We need to make them listen, ask questions, seek answers and so on. So various co-curricular activities are also planned,” Garad said.

Garad said that a learning loss survey would be done to understand the lacunae and accordingly bridge courses would be suggested. With the possibility of another session on online learning, Garad said that classwise, chapter wise videos are also on the cards which will be uploaded on the YouTube channel of SCERT so that every student can access it whenever they want for free.

There will also be a survey on out-of-school children so that proper measures can be taken to bring them back, said Vishal Solanki, commissioner of education.

“Only when the physical schools start regularly will we be able to authentically conduct a survey on out-of-school children. Secondly, we already had discussions with many NGOs and others regarding sex education in schools pre-pandemic. It is important to impart age-appropriate sex education in all schools and efforts would be taken to introduce affective measures. The talks are also on introducing free channels for class I to XII so that students can learn from TV in an audio-visual mode,” Solanki added.

Setting it right

• More focus is required on developing literacy skills, particularly for the students from Std I to III

• Textbooks and other learning material should be made available to all the students on time

• Textbooks and workbooks should have more detailed instructions for self-learning

• Good quality digital content should be designed in the regional language

• Satellite education centres should be started in communities, equipped with digital devices and learning material for children

• Sports, arts and other activities should be encouraged at a community level

• Resources like sports equipment, art and craft material, etc. should be made available at the community level

•Out-of-school children surveys should be carried out more seriously to understand the impacts of pandemic, lockdown, migration, school closure, on education of children, especially girls

- Mandar Shinde, Convenor of Action for Rights of Children

Friday, 7 January 2022

Pune missing from PENCiL Portal to report Child Labour

मा. जिल्हादंडाधिकारी तथा जिल्हा बालमजुरी विरोधी कृती दल प्रमुख,

बालमजुरीतून बालकांची मुक्तता करण्याच्या उद्देशातून शासनाने तयार केलेल्या पेन्सिल पोर्टलमध्ये (Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour) पुणे जिल्ह्याचा पर्याय काढून टाकण्यात आला आहे. यापूर्वी सदर पोर्टलद्वारे पुणे जिल्ह्यातील बालमजुरीच्या तक्रारी नोंदविता येत होत्या. पेन्सिल पोर्टलवर आतापर्यंत पुणे जिल्ह्यातील नागरिकांनी बालमजुरीच्या अनेक तक्रारी नोंदविल्या आहे. या तक्रारींवर कारवाई  करत कृती दलाने अनेक बालमजुरांची मुक्तता देखील केली आहे.

मात्र या पोर्टलमधून पुणे जिल्ह्याचा पर्याय काढून टाकल्याने सध्या पुणे जिल्ह्यातील बालमजुरीच्या तक्रारी नोंदविता येत नाहीत. सामान्य नागरिकांना बालमजुरीच्या तक्रारी नोंदविण्यासाठी पेन्सिल पोर्टल हे अतिशय उपयुक्त माध्यम आहे. तरी योग्य ती कार्यवाही करून सदर पोर्टलमध्ये पुणे जिल्ह्याचा समावेश करावा.

आपले विनीत,
बालहक्क कृती समिती, पुणे.

Hon. District Magistrate And Chairperson of District Child Labour Task Force,

It has been noticed that the option of Pune district has been removed from the PENCiL portal (Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour) launched by the Government with an objective to rescue children from child labour. The complaints regarding child labour found in Pune district could be registered through this portal until few days ago. Citizens from Pune district have reported a number of complaints against child labour in the district and the Task Force has also acted upon these complaints and rescued some children so far.

However, the complaints about child labour from Pune district cannot be reported now since the option of Pune has been removed from this website. Pencil portal is a very useful tool for common public to report complaints regarding child labour. Therefore, requesting you to take necessary action for including the option of Pune district again on this portal.

With humble regards,
Action for the Rights of the Child
ARC Network, Pune.

Monday, 22 November 2021

Children's Manifesto Media Coverage


बालकांच्या मागण्यांचा जाहीरनामा

दिव्य मराठी : मुलांनी जाहीर केला मुलांच्या मागण्यांचा जाहीरनामा

दै. लोकमत : नगरसेवक काका... पुस्तके, गणवेश द्या, व्यायामशाळा उभारा!

दै. लोकसत्ता : आगामी महापालिका निवडणुकीसाठी वस्त्यांमधील मुलांचा जाहीरनामा

दै. प्रभात : पालिका निवडणुकीसाठी बालकांचाही जाहीरनामा

दै. पुढारी : नगरसेवक काका, आमच्यासाठी हे कराल का?

दै. सामना : मुलांसाठी नाट्यगृहे, मनोरंजन केंद्रे उभारावीत

दै. सकाळ : चोवीस तास पाणी अन् हवी आरोग्य सुविधा

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Children's Manifesto for Pune Elections Launched at Press Conference on World Child Rights Day

पुणे महानगरपालिका निवडणूक २०२२ साठी मुलांच्या मागण्यांच्या जाहीरनाम्याचे प्रकाशन

पुणे : जागतिक बालहक्क दिनाचे (२० नोव्हेंबर) औचित्य साधून पुणे शहरातील विविध वस्त्यांमध्ये राहणाऱ्या बालकांनी पुणे महानगरपालिकेच्या निवडणुकीमध्ये नगरसेवक पदासाठी इच्छुक उमेदवारांकडून अपेक्षित असणाऱ्या मागण्यांच्या जाहीरनाम्याचे प्रकाशन केले. शनिवारी पत्रकार भवन येथे 'बालहक्क कृती समिती'च्या बालकांच्या हस्ते या जाहीरनाम्याचे प्रकाशन करण्यात आले.

बालहक्कांच्या संरक्षणासाठी वचनबद्ध देशांनी एकत्र येऊन 'युनाइटेड नेशन्स कन्व्हेन्शन ऑन राईट्स ऑफ दी चाईल्ड' अर्थात UNCRC हा महत्वपूर्ण करार २० नोव्हेंबर १९८९ या दिवशी मान्य केला. मूल कुणाला म्हणावे, त्यांना नेमके कोणते हक्क असतात, आणि सहभागी देशांमधील संबंधित सरकारांनी नेमक्या कोणत्या जबाबदाऱ्या पार पाडायच्या असतात, याबाबत स्पष्टीकरण UNCRC मध्ये देण्यात आलेले आहे. हे सर्व हक्क एकमेकांशी संबंधित असून, यापैकी प्रत्येक हक्काचे समान महत्व आहे आणि मुलांना या हक्कांपासून कुणीही वंचित ठेऊ शकत नाही, अशी या कराराची संकल्पना आहे. या कराराच्या अनुषंगाने २० नोव्हेंबर हा दिवस जागतिक बालहक्क दिन म्हणून पाळला जातो.

UNCRC च्या भारतातील अंमलबजावणीसाठी शासनाकडे स्थानिक पातळीवर पाठपुरावा करण्यासाठी 'बालहक्क कृती समिती' (Action for the Rights of the Child - ARC) हे बालहक्कांवर काम करणाऱ्या संस्था व कार्यकर्त्यांचे व्यासपीठ ३० वर्षांपूर्वी स्थापन करण्यात आले. तेव्हापासून पुण्यातील बालकांच्या शिक्षण, संरक्षण, सहभाग, तसेच बालमजुरी व बालविवाह अशा सर्व प्रश्नांवर 'बालहक्क कृती समिती' काम करीत आहे.

बालहक्क कृती समितीच्या पुढाकारातून बालकांच्या जाहिरनाम्याची मोहीम राबविण्यात येत आहे. या जाहीरनाम्यामध्ये मुलांच्या शिक्षण, आरोग्य, मनोरंजन तसेच संरक्षणासंदर्भातील २२ मागण्यांचा समावेश आहे. जाहिरनामा निर्मिती प्रक्रियेमध्ये पुणे शहरातील १०० मुलांनी सहभाग घेतला आहे. 

मुलांनी प्रत्यक्ष सहभाग घेऊन, चर्चा करून आपल्या मागण्यांची यादी तयार केली आहे. सदर मागण्या नियोजित निवडणुकीपूर्वी राजकीय पक्ष व इच्छुक उमेदवार, तसेच सर्वसामान्य नागरिकांपर्यंत घेऊन जाण्यासाठी ‘बालहक्क कृती समिती’ प्रयत्न करणार आहे.

अधिक माहितीसाठी खालील क्रमांकावर संपर्क करावा. धन्यवाद!

आपले नम्र,
बालहक्क कृती समिती (आर्क), पुणे. 
 ९०११०२९११० / ९८२२४०१२४६ 

Monday, 8 November 2021

Children's Manifesto Making Process

मुलांच्या मागण्यांचा जाहीरनामा

पुणे महानगरपालिकेच्या नियोजित निवडणुका (वर्ष २०२२) अनुषंगाने 'बालहक्क कृती समिती' (आर्क) मार्फत मुलांच्या मागण्यांचा जाहीरनामा (मॅनिफेस्टो) तयार करण्याबाबत सर्वसाधारण सभा दि. ६ सप्टेंबर २०२१ रोजी चर्चा झाली होती.

मॅनिफेस्टो तयार करण्याच्या कामामध्ये सहभागी होण्याची इच्छा असलेल्या संस्था व कार्यकर्त्यांनी नावे नोंदवल्यानंतर दि. २२ सप्टेंबर २०२१ रोजी पहिली व दि. ७ ऑक्टोबर २०२१ रोजी दुसरी बैठक घेण्यात आली.

दि. २७ ते २९ ऑक्टोबर २०२१ या दरम्यान हडपसर, येरवडा, सिंहगड रोड अशा काही ठिकाणी मुले व युवकांच्या बैठका घेण्यात आल्या. शिक्षण, आरोग्य, संरक्षण, मनोरंजन, जनजागृती, अशा मुद्यांवर चर्चा करून एकूण सुमारे १०० मुलांनी आपल्या  मागण्या सादर केल्या.

पुणे महानगरपालिकेच्या अर्थसंकल्पाचा अभ्यास करून त्याचे सोप्या भाषेत सादरीकरण करणाऱ्या 'पॉलिसी रिसर्च ऑर्गनायजेशन' यांच्या विचारगट बैठकीमध्ये दि. ३० ऑक्टोबर २०२१ रोजी सहभाग घेऊन, मुलांच्या मागण्यांना अर्थसंकल्पीय तरतुदींशी कसे जोडता येईल यावर चर्चा करण्यात आली.

'बालहक्क कृती समिती' (आर्क) सोबत काम करीत असलेल्या स्वयंसेवकांच्या मदतीने या सर्व मागण्या एकत्र करण्याचे आणि मराठीमध्ये जाहीरनामा तयार करण्याचे काम सुरु आहे. १४ नोव्हेंबर बालदिन आणि बालहक्क सप्ताहादरम्यान हा जाहीरनामा प्रसिद्ध करण्यासाठी प्रयत्न सुरु आहेत.

मुलांच्या मागण्यांचा जाहीरनामा तयार झाल्यावर खालील घटकांपर्यंत पोहोचविला जाईल -
• राजकीय पक्ष व इच्छुक उमेदवार;
• वस्तीपातळीवरील पालक, मुले, युवक, आणि सर्वसाधारण नागरिक;
• पत्रकार परिषद / प्रेसनोट याद्वारे माध्यमांचे प्रतिनिधी;
• सोशल मिडीयाद्वारे सर्व स्तरातील नागरिक.

या सर्व टप्प्यांवर आपल्या संस्थेचे व व्यक्तिशः आपले सर्वांचे महत्त्वपूर्ण योगदान मिळाले आहे. पुढच्या टप्प्यांवर मर्यादीत वेळेत अंमलबजावणी करण्याच्या दृष्टीने आपल्या सूचना व तयारी जरूर कळवावी. पुढील अपडेट लवकरच कळवू...

मंदार शिंदे
बालहक्क कृती समिती (आर्क) पुणे

Monday, 11 October 2021

Bring Girls Back to the Classroom

 Int’l Girl Child Day: Why it is urgent to bring girls at risk of dropping out back to the classroom

10 October 2021 |  Mumbai Mid-Day | Sarasvati T

Marriage, domestic work, digital gaps and disrupted income regularly push Indian girls away from formal learning. On the occasion of International Girl Child Day, and as schools and colleges reopen across the country, we look at ongoing efforts to bring girls back in touch with education

Stuti Yadav* from Malad Malwani, an underdeveloped area in suburban Mumbai, was made to leave school in 2017 and quickly married off by her father to someone in their village in Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur. Her mother, who has a hearing and speaking impairment, had no knowledge of this. “I did not want to drop out. I had just passed my ninth grade and wanted to study further,” says the 21-year-old, who was 17 at the time.

“I resisted initially but my father started crying and was scared I would run away with someone like my elder sister. I was of the view that my father cares about me and would have planned the best for me. My mother was shocked when I returned,” she recalls. Yadav, now separated from her husband, is trying to find work and complete her education in the city.

As offline classes resume in a phased manner across several states in India, bringing children—especially girls—who have lost touch with education back into schools will be a priority for education rights activists, community volunteers and government authorities. Nearly 42 percent of females, from age 3 to 35 years, were currently not attending educational institutions, according to data collected by the National Statistical Office (NSO) between July 2017 and June 2018.

The problem has worsened during the pandemic. The socio-economic impact of lockdown disconnected a large number of learners across India, specifically those who belonged to underprivileged sections of society, from formal education. UNESCO estimates hold that school closures due to Covid-19 have affected 320 million learners in India from pre-primary to secondary levels of education. Girls accounted for 141 million, or 41 percent, of those affected.

In the state of Maharashtra, ever since the pandemic, a total of 2,399 children—including 1,129 boys and 1,270 girls—have dropped out of school, according to data provided by Child Rights and You (CRY). CRY says it has managed to re-enroll a little over half of them — 638 boys and 702 girls.

Mandar Shinde, member of Pune-based child rights network Action for Rights of Children (ARC), says many girl students in their area of jurisdiction are still registered in schools but have stopped attending classes, and hence are not considered ‘dropouts’ yet. He adds that it is too soon to estimate the number of actual dropouts over the year.

With an increasing digital divide and unequal access to resources, gender disparities are widening across all levels of education. Additionally, a surge in child marriages—the National Crime Records Bureau found such cases jumped 50 percent from 523 in 2019 to 785 in 2020—is also contributing to more and more girls dropping out of school and college education.

The burden of child marriage

UNICEF estimates find that at least 1.5 million girls under 18 get married in India each year. Marriage is the major reason why 13.2 percent of enrolled females—12.4 percent in rural areas and 15 percent in urban—do not currently attend any educational institution. This is as per the NSO data cited above.

In Yadav’s case, she was promised that she would be allowed to study further after marriage but what followed within months was pressure to conceive a child, domestic violence and harassment by an alcoholic husband which finally led to the couple’s separation.

For Yadav, the separation meant the end of a tormenting year, making her a little hopeful. She returned to Mumbai last year and despite societal and family pressure to marry again, plans to educate herself and her siblings.

“I have decided to study further with my own money and my father has agreed. I want to earn and take care of my family as well,” she says, adding that she will be applying to take the tenth standard exam privately next year. While her younger siblings are still engaged in formal school education and managing to attend online school classes, Yadav is currently on the lookout for jobs to support them and herself.

ARC’s Shinde says at this point, his organisation’s focus is on bringing such children back to school by tracking them and assisting them with resources. “If we receive cases of a girl child marriage, we try to stop it. But if we cannot, the state Child Welfare Committee takes up the cause of rehabilitation of children who are married off.”

Aspirations vs domestic expectations

According to the NSO data, as of 2018, 32 percent of females in rural areas and 27 percent in urban areas, were not attending education in 2018 because of domestic work.

“My elder daughter had to drop out of school in seventh class because of my deteriorating relationship with my wife. She had to leave school and take care of younger siblings and other chores at home,” says Suhas Chavan, who works as a housekeeper at a private company in Pune.

Chavan’s daughter Raksha*, who used to study in a municipal school, has since been at home dealing with the family crisis, with no opportunities available to study further or learn new skills. Completing her education and getting a job are uphill challenges for the 15-year-old.

“I want to enroll her again in school but the situation at home does not allow that. How will she study now when she cannot learn the English language quickly or remember anything that she has learnt? And I don’t want her to work. We can manage ourselves financially,” her father says.

Raksha’s three younger sisters have continued to attend online classes on one phone that Chavan bought during the pandemic. He says the three will go to school once offline classes begin for their age groups.

Both Yadav and Chavan’s eldest daughter were forced to put aside aspirations and compromise their independence to shoulder household responsibilities at a tender age.

How digital gaps hurt

For 17-year-old Almas Khan’s younger sister, who is studying in Class 7 at a Municipal school in Malad Malwani, attending online class every day was a task as the family did not have enough money to spend on internet services or mobile data.

“There was only one phone and three people to study. My sister used to visit her friend’s house to study but even that could not last for a long time. My father cannot work since he was grievously injured in an accident. In that case, paying for mobile data is a privilege,” says Khan, who herself is grappling with finances to secure admission in a first year bachelor of commerce (BCom) course in a nearby college.

Khan fears that her younger sister will have to leave school after passing seventh class, the final level of upper primary municipal school. The fear, she says, is valid, given that she was forced to quit school after tenth class, due to financial constraints.

In 2019, she managed to resume Class 11 studies at a night college with financial assistance from teachers, a few debts and small scale jobs at home. Lockdown hit during her first year final exams, and like her younger sister, she too attended online classes with her friends and cleared the 12th class board exams with 76.5 percent.

According to the Centre for Budget and Governance Ability (CBGA), only 33 percent of women in India had access to the internet, in contrast to 67 percent of men. Further, the NSO data reveals that only 24 percent of Indian households have an internet facility.

According to Shinde, most of the children from marginalised communities were attending government schools so education and related entitlements were available for free up to the seventh or eighth standard. The pandemic disrupted this system with online classes and lack of access to digital infrastructure pushed children from marginalised communities, especially girls, out of school.

Ongoing efforts and scope for action

Mumbai’s Zarin Khan, community organiser at Nakshatra Network which works for girls’ education and health, says she and her colleagues have been constantly visiting girls who are willing to get back to school and convincing their parents to re-enroll them. According to Khan, the group has managed to re-admit six girls this year to school or college and is currently in touch with 35 more girls in the Malad Malwani area.

“We have also been gathering groups of girls and allowing them to study together since there are a limited number of phones,” Khan adds.

Education rights volunteers believe there is not much that they can do if the families have shifted to their native places after losing their source of income in cities during the lockdown.

When asked how schools can help bridge the gap between the number of girls enrolled and those attending online or offline classes, Shinde states that schools must first get in touch with local authorities such as Zilla Parishads or Municipal Corporations to identify vulnerable groups of children and ensure that they are attending school.

Second, schools must provide basic necessary facilities such as transport, books and uniforms to such children at the earliest. “Finally, schools must declare out-of-school and dropout cases as an educational emergency as any child left out of school is a potential victim of child marriage or child labour,” Shinde adds.

Organisations have also been conducting classes to help children work on their basic skills and recover from learning losses.

According to Nilendu Kumar, General Manager, Development Support of CRY, volunteers are also conducting bridge classes, where they take language, maths and science lessons, for children from marginalised communities in rural and urban areas, to ensure they are smoothly integrated into the offline system.

Says Kumar: “Children have faced a loss of education for more than one and a half years. This has been the biggest casualty. In the case of girls, if you have to prevent them from getting married underage, you have to ensure that you connect them to education in some or the other way.”

(*Names of all the girls have been changed to protect their identity)

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Understanding the Issue of Child Labour - An Article by Ms Arya Mare

An Article about the Session conducted on Child Labour
Arya Ajit Mare | September 1, 2021

    Action for the Rights of the Child (ARC) is a network of NGOs working in and around Pune city. This network was formed to ensure the necessary ratification to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in India. This network works on the ground level and helps children out from their past. ARC has been doing this work for the past 30 years. I am glad that I’m a part of this organization. This made me aware of so many facts that I wasn’t even aware of. 

    Recently attended webinar was on child labour. It was a very resourceful session. It made me aware of the basic laws which any layman person should know. It also broadened my view about child labour. I earlier thought that child labour is only restricted to working at small retail shops and beggary on roads but I was wrong this is not just it. In the session, different members of the NGO discussed their work and all troubles they face.

    Mr. Anand Mahajan who is an advocate shared few points which were mainly on the law. These points were very crisp and were explained in a very simple manner. He spoke about The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 later on which was amended to The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016. He also mentioned that this act came into enforcement in September 2016. He gave us a brief overview of what the act tells which was indeed very helpful as it widened my horizon of knowledge and not only that I came to know the difference between adolescents (14-18) and children (below14) but also what are the types work which are prohibited till the age of 18 for anyone. He also stated the punishments which would have to be served by the person who hires any child below 14. It is mentioned in Sec14. that all hazardous occupations are prohibited for children and also the punishments are laid down in it. He also said that the child artists which are seen on the screen are an exception. He also mentioned some facts about the labour office and the task force. He also explained why filing an FIR or a formal registration of a complaint is necessary. It is necessary because the court works on evidence and to prove your point you will need proof. He also mentioned some acts and laws which work in hand with The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016 and those are NALSA and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. 

    As mentioned earlier, I came across things where child labour is not restricted to working at small retail shops and beggary on roads. The members of the NGO who shared their work spoke and their words were -

    That the no. of kids working in activities like picking up garbage has increased and it was also mentioned that picking up garbage comes under hazardous activities. Mr. Aditya Vyas from Kagad Kach Patra Kashtkari Panchayat mentioned that he also spoke to the people and they responded that their kid's school is closed so they just take the kids with them so that in that way they will at least get more wage. The other point mentioned was also that there is no one to take care of the kid at home so they bring them to work with them.

    Mr. Harish Phadke from Society for Door Step Schools that works for the upliftment of kids of parents who work in factories that make bricks. He raised points about the education of the kids and how these factory people exploit these tribal people and if they try to raise a point, they won’t allow them to work the next day.

    Mr. Dnyaneshwar Jadhawar, a writer and social activist, raised a point about the kids working in the sugarcane factories and in the process of cutting sugarcane. He said that the people from many different places migrate mainly from the area of Latur, Nagpur, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, etc. with their family and then, later on, all the people working in the factory-raised a point about their kids’ education. Then the government came up with a solution that they will be given a card which would assist them to get education for their kids in the nearest government schools. This wasn’t that effective as the teachers mainly used to neglect these kids.

    Mr. Rohit Yaligar’s NGO NYAAS works for the upliftment of the kids from the slums. He mentioned that these kids mainly try to work from an early age so that they can earn more money for their families and themselves. He also mentioned that this is to be seen less in settled slums. He and his team are providing education and providing basic needs to them.

    Mr. Param Anand, District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) set some general points that there is no general awareness among the people about child labour and how sensitive this topic is. He also mentioned that there is no proper data on child labour. 

    Mr. Sushant Asha, ARC Coordinator, presented a demo of using the PENCIL portal for reporting child labour cases. Using this simple platform, any citizen can report a working child found anywhere in the city. The concerned government department has to take an action on the cases reported by citizens through the PENCIL portal.

    I learned that child labour is a very big issue and has to been taken seriously by both the parties the citizens and as well as the government. All the points mentioned by the panellists didn’t just encourage us to work forward with this work but also gave me a clear picture as to where we have to put in more effort. Through all the discussion what I could gather is that there is a lack of communication between NGOs and the government. I feel that the NGOs are trying their best from their side and so is the government. The government is bringing in new policies but they aren’t that effective or the case is that it isn’t being used. The NGOs are doing their best in all ways possible but if there isn’t mass awareness it is of no use. I feel that being a citizen of a country doesn’t just mean that we should only follow the rules for ourselves. Yes, the citizens must abide by the rules, but the citizens also have to help others in need so that the country progresses and reaches new heights. 

    I urge people to attend the sessions held by ARC. It will not only raise awareness about child labour and child marriage but will also give you a platform to raise your point of view. It will also help you to be a part of the change which has to be brought in society. 

    Lastly, I would like to quote that if you want to bring change, be the change yourself and everything will follow.

- Arya Ajit Mare
2nd-year Law Student
Symbiosis Law School, Pune
1st September 2021

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