Hi, being a PTA member of the Bombay Cambridge School, I have had opportunities to interact with a few parents, teachers and the Principal, and have always felt the need to reach out to many more parents.
The school magazine came as an opportunity to reach out to many more parents and children as the magazine is given out to every child.
I thought of sharing the same with you all.
Having worked for CRY – Child Rights and You for the last 15 years and a parent for 9 of those years, I have had ample opportunities to learn about children and from children. At CRY, I became aware of the unpleasant realities and challenges that a vast majority of children in India face. This is in regard to education, a proper meal or even basic survival. Estimates reveal, 50% of India's children are malnourished and 17 million children below the age of 18 work in India. This is the gruesome reality of our country today.
What I have grown to understand is that these children are not ‘poor children who need my charity’ but ' citizens of this country' , just like us, with the same opportunities and rights that we consider ours as human beings.
I always believed that every child deserves to live, learn, play and enjoy a childhood. I now know, that India has guaranteed 'rights' to all citizens (including children) in its constitution and by signing the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the child. By 'rights' I mean- Children are entitled to the rights to survival, development, protection and participation. These rights apply to all Indian children- irrespective of their gender, language, community, socio-economic class, caste, religion, ethnicity, disability or any other living conditions- all over India, in every tribe, village, town and city.
At first, as a parent, on hearing that all children having rights I felt a little anxious- If my child has rights, does it mean that my role as a parent becomes less important? But over time, I realized that actually it’s just the opposite.
As a parent, I may have the most influence on my child’s life, but now, it also my responsibility to ensure and uphold all his rights. As parents, we constantly struggle to give our children the best that the world has to offer and our personal best. Knowing what our children’s rights are is critical because we are in the best position to help them be aware of and demand their rights.
Right to survival -to life, health, nutrition, name, nationality.
Right to protection -To privacy ,To have a family,From exploitation, abuse, neglect
Right to development -to education ,care, rest and leisure recreation.
Right to participation -Freedom of expression, opinion, religion ,To have diversity of Information ,To be a member of associations ,To one’s own culture .
Source: United Nations Convention to the Rights of the Child
Like my child deserves these rights, I want it for each and every child, because I believe, really believe that all children are equal.
There is a lot that we can do- as parents, voters, teachers, neighbours, consumers, etc – by overcoming our indifferences, doubt and sheer inaction to rearrange our priorities to put children first.
As parents, we can begin by recognizing our children as individuals today and not investments for the future, discussing our children’s rights in our families and educating our children on what their rights are.