Child Rights in India: An Introduction
1. Introduction: Child Rights and You (CRY) organization
The Children Rights and You (CRY) organization considers children as citizens who have their own rights but are just not aware of the rights. CRY was established in India in 1979, inspired by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The convention spells out the basic human rights that all children everywhere are entitled to.
Since its inception, CRY has reached out to more than 3 million underprivileged children in India through a network of over 500 grassroots NGOs. CRY’s work is based on four key pillars:
– Promoting child rights
– Building capacity of grassroots NGOs
– Creating awareness on child rights
– Empowering communities to demand child rights
2. Key rights of children
The Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes four key areas where children’s rights are violated. They are:
– The right to life
– The right to have a family
– The right to an identity
– The right to education
The violation of any one of these rights can have a lifelong impact on a child.
The right to life: Every child has the right to life. This includes the right to survival and development. It means that governments must do everything possible to ensure that children survive and thrive. Unfortunately, in many parts of the world, including India, this basic right is not being met. According to UNICEF, about 22,000 children die every day due to poverty and preventable causes like diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria.
In India, about 26% of all deaths in children under five years old are due to pneumonia, 22% due to neonatal conditions and 12% due to diarrhea What is even more alarming is that most of these deaths are preventable with simple interventions like immunization, breast feeding and access to clean water and sanitation facilities.
The right to have a family: Every child has the right to know his or her parents and be cared for by them. Unfortunately, in India, there are many instances where this right is violated. According to UNICEF, there are over 19 million orphaned and abandoned children in India. Of these, over 9 million live in institutions like orphanages and foster homes. Research has shown that institutional care can have long term effects on a child’s physical, social and emotional development. Growing up in an institution can make it difficult for a child to form attachments and develop a sense of belonging. This can lead to problems in adulthood such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse.
The right to an identity: Every child has the right to a name, nationality and family relations. This right is violated when children are born out of wedlock or abandoned by their parents. In India, there are an estimated 20 million such children. Many of them grow up without knowing their parents or even their own identities. This can lead to a lifetime of insecurity and mental anguish.
The right to education: Every child has the right to education. Article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that “primary education shall be compulsory and available free to all”. In India, however, this is not the case. According to UNESCO, approximately one third of all primary school age children in India are not in school. This is due to a variety of factors including poverty, caste discrimination and child labor.
The right to be heard: Every child has the right to express his or her views freely and to be heard in all matters affecting him or her. This includes the right to participate in decisions about their own lives. In India, however, many children do not have this opportunity. Their voices are often silenced by adults who make decisions on their behalf. This can lead to a feeling of powerlessness and resentment.
3. CRY’s work in India
CRY works with grassroots NGOs in India to promote child rights and development. It does this through a number of initiatives including capacity building, awareness raising and community empowerment.
Capacity building: CRY provides support to grassroots NGOs to help them build their capacities. This includes training on child rights, fundraising, financial management and program implementation. CRY also provides seed funding to help NGOs get started.
Awareness raising: CRY creates awareness about child rights among various stakeholders including government officials, community leaders, the media and the general public. It does this through workshops, seminars, rallies and street plays.
Community empowerment: CRY empowers communities to demand child rights from the government. It does this by involving them in planning and decision making processes. It also provides legal aid and support to communities to help them file cases against violations of child rights.
4. Grassroots NGOs and development in India
Grassroots NGOs play a vital role in development in India. They are working at the grassroots level to bring about change in the lives of people living in poverty and marginalization. They are also working to create awareness about child rights and empower communities to demand these rights from the government.
Grassroots NGOs are often more effective than government initiatives in reaching out to people living in remote and difficult-to-reach areas. They are also more flexible and responsive to the needs of the people they serve.
However, grassroots NGOs face many challenges in India. These include a lack of resources, limited access to information and communication technology (ICT) and a lack of institutional support.
5. Slumdog Millionaire: A film about child rights in India
Slumdog Millionaire is a 2008 British drama film directed by Danny Boyle. The film is set in Mumbai, India and tells the story of Jamal Malik, an 18 year old boy from the slums who becomes a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
The film highlights the issue of child rights in India through the characters of Jamal and his brother Salim. Both boys are orphaned at a young age and have to fend for themselves on the streets of Mumbai. They are forced into beggary and crime in order to survive. As they grow older, they are separated from each other and each one’s life takes a different turn.
Jamal’s story is one of hope and determination against all odds. He overcomes his hardships and goes on to win the game show that changes his life forever. Salim’s story is one of violence and despair. He turns to a life of crime and is eventually killed by his brother in a shootout.
The film highlights the stark contrast between the two brothers’ lives and how their circumstances have led them down different paths. It also highlights the issue of child rights in India and the need for more grassroots NGOs to work towards the protection and promotion of these rights.
Child rights are an important issue in India. There are many instances where these rights are violated. This can have a lifelong impact on a child.
Grassroots NGOs play a vital role in promoting and protecting child rights in India. They are often more effective than government initiatives in reaching out to people living in poverty and marginalization.
Slumdog Millionaire is a film that highlights the issue of child rights in India. It is a story of hope and determination against all odds.