Child Rights and Education
“There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace”, – Kofi Annan former Secretary General of UN.
Child Rights and Education portfolio at GRAAM holds equitable quality education, respecting rights of the children, the environment that ensures absolute protection to them and participation of the community along with the state in the entire process of upholding children’s welfare at the highest priority.
Article 39F of Indian constitution clearly says ‘The States shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment’. Despite constitutional mandate and numerous legislations and policies, situation of children in India is disheartening. . India is the nation having highest number of children in the world. 17% of the world’s children are in India, i.e. every sixth child of the world belongs to India. But almost half of them are malnourished, problem of child labour still persists and their rights are seldom respected. Unless community organizations at the grassroots consider issues of children as their responsibility and on priority, no matter whatever may be the number of legislation parliament passes, things are not going to change.
The thrust of the portfolio is to work with the policy makers to ensure the environment that provides equal citizenry rights considering them as ‘citizens of today, not tomorrow’s’. GRAAM does this by conducting policy research, program evaluation and advocacy. The empirical evidence that is reflects the needs and aspiration of the children shall be gathered systematically to achieve this. Participatory methodologies shall be employed in understanding and appreciating community efforts for protecting rights of the children,
GRAAM’s professionals associated with this portfolio have a unique advantage of having rich experience of working with children at the grassroots. Also, they have an experience of working within the Government system at the policy level for developing policies and action plans related to children. The team has the firsthand understanding of community movements pioneered in the state for the active engagement of community in upholding child rights and education.
The focus of this portfolio for the next three years shall be on the issues related to education, protection and community participation at the grassroots in upholding child rights.