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The Rights' Way


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The Rights' Way

  1. 1. CRY – Child Rights and You (earlier known as Child Relief and You) is India’s leading advocate for child rights. For over 30 years, CRY has partnered with NGOs, communities, government and the media. CRY works towards mobilising all sections of society to eliminate the root causes of deprivation, exclusion, exploitation and abuse. For more information please visit us at Created by CRY East Volunteers for CRY, 2010 Editing: Nitish Khanna Surabhi Tandon Designing: Cover Page: Saswat Kumar Sahu Inner pages: Debangshu Dinda Contributors: Biswajit Roy Chaudhury Moumita Chakraborty Piyush Bagaria Sulagna Nandy Cover page Photo Coutesy: JUPC Content Advisor: Anupama Muhuri
  2. 2. We Volunteers I am a CRY Volunteer already..!!! It’s your turn...join us..!!!
  3. 3. Editors’ Speak.... The writing of this book has indeed been much more than just a learning experience. Compiling it and getting to know how the volunteers belonging to different age groups, places and areas of work expertise, has made us realise even more that if you believe in something, if you want to change something, it does not matter who you are or what you can do, all that matters is that you BELIEVE you can do it. With this in mind we bring out the “The Right’s Way’, to showcase our readers, the work done by CRY Volunteers in the arena of child rights and to also invite more and more people, become a part and contribute in their own way and strengthen the cause. This book is an attempt to bring people closer to Child Rights, give a glimpse into the work of volunteers belonging to various groups we have and share views and experiences of people associated with CRY – their transition from Volunteers to Change Makers. Our endeavors would have been incomplete without the support of various volunteer groups and institutes CRY Volunteer Action has teamed up with. We would like to dedicate this year book to all our volunteers who are the backbone of this endeavor. We would also like to thank and acknowledge the contribution of each and every member who has contributed in putting together this yearbook. We hope this book will help in bringing you closer to Child Rights. Happy Reading! Nitish Khanna Surabhi Tandon
  4. 4. Foreword: Volunteers are an integral part of our ideations and interventions to bring about meaningful changes to promote the cause of child rights. They are the ones who make it possible for us to stretch our boundaries and keep exploring ways to sensitise more and more people and bring them on board. Also, they lobby with the government to make sure policies and schemes are people friendly. So, what is unique? They are neither paid, nor professionally trained for such work, nor is it their only engagement! What binds them together and keeps them focused, is their passion for this cause and the genuine willingness to do something worthwhile We are indeed very happy to see this capsule presentation of our volunteers’ work, which was planned and is prepared by a group of interns and volunteers, representing the enthusiastic bunch of volunteers we have in the East! We believe the milestones achieved and experiences shared shall help you build a better perspective on Child Rights. Do read it, share it with your friends, and join us if you wish to be one of the change makers! Anupama & Diya CRY, Kolkata
  5. 5. Who are the CRY Volunteers? Cry volunteers are individuals from all walks of life uniting together for the cause of CHILD RIGHTS and striving towards ensuring that every child in India gets equal rights and opportunities. They comprise of professionals, media persons, lawyers, journalists, students, academicians, teachers, homemakers and any other citizen who feel responsible to act for this cause. These volunteers work as a team, stand up for Child Rights and take action instead of being just passive observers. The various initiatives undertaken by the volunteers range from being part of a fact finding team , to organizing event and dialogues, to meeting concerned authorities, expressing our views through theatre performances and issue based films, and even writing a letter to the Editor. Each volunteer besides their time and commitment brings in her/his own creativity and perspective not only towards the issue but towards the society at large. These efforts sometimes become very significant in shaping the way CRY and even at times the government organisations go about tackling issues concerning the well being of children. During the process of working towards this cause, we experience a great transformation in ourselves, not only in skills, but also in our perspective and approach of viewing and working on different burning social issues and applying our rationale in finding a solution rather than just gaining knowledge about them. The work and the learning humbles us, makes us feel more responsible as a citizen of this country to do something worthwhile We are over 100 volunteers in East India and still counting…
  6. 6. College Collectives is an initiative which involves the youth in colleges. They are groups facilitated by CRY that help students build their perspectives on Child Rights and Human Rights, and incubates youth activism. This initiative aims in channelizing youth’s energy to take action for child rights through creative, legal and other forms of expression. In this way leadership is built amongst college youth so that they can act for these causes and find their roles in the process of social change.
  7. 7. Indian Institute of Management (Calcutta) Who we are: INCA is a social initiative of IIM Calcutta students, which brings together students who are interested in working with NGOs. Every year, a group of students joins hands with CRY and contributes in their own way in propagating Child Rights. Since 2006, a group of students has worked on social projects in discussion with CRY and submitted reports to put forward their findings in order to mainstream child rights sensitivity within their institute. What we did: • In Mandi (a very popular intra IIM marketing event), an advertising contest was floated for the preliminary round with a child rights theme “Is education for all a reality?”. • IIM connect is an inter-IIM professional networking tool which has over 900 members comprising students, faculties, and alumni who have worked along with CRY. The CRY logo connecting to the CRY volunteer page has been put up in the home page Did you know? • A market research under our event 65% of school going “Ulhaas”, tried to get response and trends from people on volunteering for children reported facing social causes corporal punishment i.e. two out of three children • Research was conducted on volunteer were victims of corporal engagement options for diverse public punishment groups Volunteer Speak: “CRY has a group of really enthusiastic people who are result-driven, and this enthusiasm inspires the volunteers to deliver their best. Working with CRY was an extremely satisfying experience; it was a challenging project and our recommendations were taken very seriously” Ankit Sukhija Student
  8. 8. National University of Juridical Sciences Human Rights Legal Advocacy Group Who we are: We are a group of 12-15 volunteers involved in this initiative. The initiative began with a group of students from IIM and NUJS visiting North Bengal tea gardens. A study was carried out on the violation of the Plantation Labour Act which led to the genesis of HRLAG (Human Rights Legal Advocacy Group). This group is a student body of NUJS who has partnered with CRY What we did: • Raised ‘public’ awareness and held discussions on the Human Rights situation in North Bengal tea plantations with particular reference to Child Rights. • Launched a movement oriented towards Did you know? achieving observance of statutory and human rights standards in tea plantations by the State and tea estate owners, with particular demand One in 18 children die in for guaranteeing ‘Minimum Wages’ for the the first year of life, and labourers. one in 13 die before their • Organised an inter-college debate on Child 5th birthday. Rights • Made presentations to panels of opinion makers, lawyers and editors. Volunteer Speak: “Volunteering with CRY has made me more aware and more sensitive towards issues which were just names before. The kind of work we do with CRY, transforms lives – those of the children we work for as well as our own.” Surabhi Tandon Student
  9. 9. Presidency College Who we are: A group 40 registered members out of which 10-12 members form the core group. Although it started as a small group, soon, students from different departments started approaching VA in individual capacity to volunteer with CRY. The group (students from various departments) began to take shape under the leadership of a first year Sociology student and a 3rd year History student What we did: • Intensive effort was made in collectivization Did you know? and CRY chapter formation in college • Through Intra College events such as Poster There are 164 million children display, CRY Volunteer counter set up, in the age group of 0-6 years. recruitments, film festival, CRY products 37 million children below the display etc., mobilized more students and age of 3 are underweight, institutionalized child rights within the while almost 50 per cent of college. under-fives are moderately or severely malnourished. • Designed a questionnaire to assess the status of municipal schools. Volunteer Speak: “No more a game for you and another for me. Let’s work together so that a new world, a child friendly world, we get to see.” Abhishek Student
  10. 10. KIIT Law School, Bhubaneswar Who we are: Another new endeavour that CRY undertook in the East was in Orissa. The preliminary talks were initiated with KIIT Law School (KLS) in the beginning of the year. Law Schools often are keen to take up human rights issues and initiatives and hence after some discussions and meetings, a CRY student’s chapter was formed in the month of September with faculties of the college, for overall coordination What we did: • Orientation on Child Rights organised by CRY • We formed a CRY students chapter with Did you know? over 50 members getting involved • Went for field work to understand the 2010-11 budgets allocate status of education in certain mere 4.63% of GDP for communities. Conducting field work to children. understand the status of education in certain communities Assessing schools, interacting with communities and capturing experiences through photographs and case studies Volunteer Speak: “I was really glad when CRY came to us with the idea of having a Child rights collective in campus. Soon after the commencement of the CRY Chapter we went to quite a few villages in Khurda district. It was an eye opener; I look forward to drawing in more experiences and doing something meaningful to address these issues.” Debangshu Dinda Student
  11. 11. There are many people all around who would like to do some in-depth work on a certain child related theme or put their focused interest or skill to some meaningful engagement. The aim of this initiative is to create a public action group which is not bound by an institution or geography. The members are primarily bound by an interest in an issue or a specific skill.
  12. 12. Inclusive Education Who we are: “Campaigners for Inclusion” is a volunteer initiative of CRY and Sruti disAbility Rights Centre. It is a vibrant campaign initiated in the year 2007 and has reached many a successful milestones with volunteers from all walks of life. It is a group of around 20 volunteers, advocating and demanding an inclusive society for children with disabilities. What we did: • Organized a rally to protest against the Right to Education Bill which did not include the rights of children with disability. • The report on inclusion was accepted by NUJS as reference material. Did you know? • Also demanded new laws to have separate sections for children with disability and changes in the Copy right One in every four trafficked Law in order to introduce the Braille victim is a child below the age Books. of 16 years, more than half • Distributed handbills on Right to Read (58.3%) belong to poor and made posters on Inclusive Education. families. Also started a Letter Campaign by sending out letters to a set of 20 schools principals to make them more aware of this issue. Volunteer Speak: “In the ‘Change in Copyright Act’ Campaign, collecting signatures of different visitors at the book fair, to make them aware of the fact that only 0.5% books were available for print-disabled persons, was one of the most valuable experiences for me!!!” Moumita Chakrabarty Student
  13. 13. Photo Collective – JUPC Who we are: CLICK RIGHTS – This Photography Initiative was started along with CRY in the beginning of 2009. In 2008 CRY envisioned a public initiative with groups of (amateur) photographers to mobilize opinion on child rights. The idea was to create photo-enthusiasts collective through exhibitions of photographs at different locations of the city and also form public opinion. CRY explored Jadavpur University Photographic Club to assess potential for a tie-up.. This materialized and there are now 40 members in the club taking forward the idea under the Banner of “Click Rights”. What we did: • CRY and JUPC arrived at some common understanding and agreed upon certain outcomes which was formalized by signing an MoU Did you know? • Capacity building sessions on child rights 25 % of all primary school- going children drop out, and photography were conducted by CRY between Grade I – V and 46% of all elementary • We went around the city and clicked status school-going children, drop of children viz a viz education and two out between Grade 1-VIII. photo exhibitions were held. One in Topsia and another one on the event of CRY’s Sabko Shiksha Saman Shiksha Campaign Volunteer Speak: “Child Rights is not just about children in distress or children affected by poverty. The violation of Child Rights is also a violation of basic Human Rights. In the core it’s about making honest decisions for yourself and for your society too.” Soumik Dutta JUPC Member
  14. 14. News Tracking Who we are: CRY felt the importance of volunteers being able to do issue analysis and news tracking in order to strengthen the volunteer campaigns on child rights and be abreast of latest media coverage approach and trends. Hence this group was formed. It is a group of 6 members comprising of a corporate professional, homemaker, and students from engineering and science research. The approach to follow news closely with a critical eye, read between the lines and identify and probe into what has been omitted and what has not and why. What we did: • Came up with an analytical report on “Children in the media” covering the Did you know? trends in three leading Dailies More than half (54 percent) • News tracking was done on an ongoing of all deaths before age five basis for 4 leading dailies. years in India are related to • Regular tracking of four leading dailies malnutrition. and sharing latest relevant news periodically over mail and volunteer blog to enrich volunteer perspectives and work Volunteer Speak: “Children are the backbone of any society. When I decided to do something for the society I chose CRY over any other NGO for this obvious reason. Working with CRY has been a fulfilling experience for me. CRY has given me the opportunity to interact with people from diverse backgrounds who have come together for this noble cause.” Sourav Guha Corporate Professional
  15. 15. This is an initiative to mobilize ‘public’ in wards such that they engage with people’s issues to build pressure collectively on the local governance. Simultaneously, it also works on building capacity and in challenging public convictions and beliefs with regard to rights of the marginalized. The initiative also focuses on the establishment of formal ‘Child Rights watch group’ in each ward, consisting of Public and the People.
  16. 16. Topsia, Right to Education Campaign Who we are: A group of volunteers comprising of a mix of members of SAKET (an educational Trust) and a few college students. Our active group comprises of 8-10 people. The campaign aims to address the right to education issue of the children of Topsia to ensure that there are adequate numbers and quality schools in the area and children are able to enjoy their right to development. This is being done through fact finding studies, surveys, filing RTIs, Public consultations etc What we did: •A public consultation done with residents on status of schools in Topsia • Along with JUPC CRY Volunteer group, Did you know? a photo exhibition was held in a public ground in Topsia on Right to Education in the month of November 25% of Muslim children in the 6-14 year age group • 3 articles were written and published have either never attended on issues of discrimination, drop outs, school or have dropped and on infrastructural problems, out. through the lens of unresponsive education system • Drafted a booklet on this initiative with mention of further options for volunteer engagement Volunteer Speak: “While working in Topsia, I noticed gross violation of right to education there. CRY is taking firm steps to ensure that the government implements right to education there and I feel happy getting the opportunity to contribute by being part of field level initiatives!” Shaunak Ghosh Student
  17. 17. Initiative with Para clubs Who we are: A diverse group comprising long time residents of a locality, youth studying in colleges or those who have completed high school. It’s the people who are very passionate about their para (neighborhood/ locality) and focus on addressing immediate problems that impact status of children. The group is formed by about 2-3 representatives from each club which combined makes the total representation of around 14-15 youths. Most of the volunteers have undergone various trainings and been involved in projects with Thoughtshop Foundation. The efforts are focused on 6 paras which are all different in nature and composition with impetus on right based approach and long term advocacy. Did you know? What we did: • Underwent series of seven Capacity Less than 44% of children, Building sessions on child rights, 12-23 months, are fully advocacy, issue analysis etc. vaccinated against the 6 major childhood illnesses. • Conducting composition and community mapping of each Para was done. • Conducting de-briefing sessions and discussing areas of future intervention Volunteer Speak: "Working with CRY has been a very revealing and enriching experience. I realized that there are many small things also that can easily be done to contribute to child rights. Yes, what is needed is a bit of sensitivity and willingness to do something worthwhile." Nitish Khanna Student
  18. 18. The Internship Programme at CRY is a structured programme with Professional Institutes to strengthen the collaboration between CRY & Professional/ Academic institutes in the field of Child Rights. Over the last few years the Volunteer Action team saw a gradual increase in the number and diversity of students joining and their contribution to VA’s campaigns and Child Rights activism at large.
  19. 19. The Internship Programme Who we are: The internship programme in CRY is recognised as a stepping stone for a long term relationship between CRY and the interns, as well as their institutions. About 100 intern applications are processed every year out of which an average of 30 interns per year are absorbed in individual or group assignments. The Interns are students from diverse walks of life with their profiles ranging from law and social sciences to media and management. What we did: • Twenty five students from 14 different Institutes of India interned with CRY Kolkata • Contributed and value added to CRY Volunteer Campaigns and plans for the year. Reports covered the themes of Education as a fundamental right through the eyes of Did you know? parents, status of rag pickers in Kolkata, One in every four trafficked squatter settlements and condition of victim is a child below the children in Kolkata, Print media and children, age of 16 years, more than options of Volunteer involvement and action half (58.3%) belong to poor families. etc.. • A short film titled “Our Place in the Sun too” was made on children’s perceptions and concerns on education. The film was screened in many places and received wide spread appreciation Volunteer Speak: “My experience with CRY has been a wonderful mixture of different emotions…I had a very narrow view of the world, but after doing this internship, I left with an open mind, and more importantly, an open heart. What I have learnt from CRY is that everybody has a right to a dream, and every attempt, no matter how seemingly insignificant, makes a difference.” Chanakya Hridaya Student
  20. 20. Also Did... Volunteer Speak: “It has been an amazing experience while volunteering with CRY. I have learnt , grown, campaigned, organized, enjoyed, clicked, created and realized how extremely lucky I am. Thank you everyone for being there!” Rashmila Maiti Content developer • In the month of June 2009, we went around the city creating public awareness on the extent of damage caused by the cyclone Aila and raised resources to reach out to the affected communities in Sunderban • Created a vibrant online blog for child Volunteer Speak: right enthusiasts http:// to “My association with CRY, encourage discussion and promote the past one year, has public action on child rights and given a new meaning to my create a common platform to bring life ...To realize that so together various volunteer east much more can be done for initiatives children and their rights, makes me want to keep • Sabko Shiksha Saman Shiksha doing my bit in whatever campaign of CRY created visibility little manner possible.” and made an impact through submission of signed charter of Saptaparna Bhattacharya demands and cross country Homemaker programmes on right to education. Volunteers played an active part in garnering signatures from public, and were proactively supporting in organizing a collage of events in Kolkata.
  21. 21. CALL FOR ACTION: Over the last few years CRY volunteers have been involved in several initiatives and have achieved a lot. However, there is still a lot to be done. We are always looking for more people who believe in the cause CRY stands for, irrespective of who they are, what they do and the kind of skills they possess. So we appeal to people who have read this book and feel that they could contribute in any way, big or small, as part of an Institute, a campaign or even individually to come forward and join us. In our endeavor to make a difference, to bring about a change we look forward to the support of our volunteers both old and new. Just as every droplet makes an ocean, every volunteer makes us stronger! So, be a CRY Volunteer and stand up for what is RIGHT!!!
  22. 22. For more details: CRY Kolkata 152, Kalikapur, Gitanjali Park (New No. 8, 2nd Street), Kolkata-700099 Tel: +91-33-2416 9507 / 2772 Diya Deb ( Anupama Muhuri (