Cultural Campaign for ensuring Child Rights by Child Cultural team

By-Ashim Kumar Ghosh
CRY (Child Rights and You) in partnership with the OMRAH (Orissa Institute for Medical and Research), Cuttack, Orissa working in the rural community of the Nischintkoli Block of Asureserwar Panchayat since 10 years. OMRAH in support of CRY, initiated the work related to sensitization, awareness, formation of several community action groups, advocacy with the governance, interface action of the community, Pancahyat representatives and government for ensuring the child rights in the community. Organization is working on the issue of Infant mortality, Child Labour, Malnutrition, Child drop out, working child directly and also mobilizing the community to understand the root causes of the Child Rights violation. It has experienced that the families from the socially and economically deprived community is the victim of child labour, malnutrition, drop out and infant mortality. These communities are the victim of the exploitative social structure and the systemic failure. These are the families who are worse affected by the floods in the region. It has got several successes in the community for reducing the Infant mortality, drop outs, child labour, it has also initiated the people’s mobilization for getting the basic facilities in the region for ensuring the livelihood scope in the region.
OMRAH has initiated the process of thematic Child cultural programme in the area on the basic issues through Child cultural team. The child of 18 villages has been participated in this process. Since last two years Child cultural team had decided to go for cultural campaign in the villages for child birth registration. It is a critical problem in the area, where system is not co-operating with the parents to get the birth certificate easily from Panchayat offices. At present Block and district corporation office is the authority to issue the certificate and for that the rural people has to invest money as bribe and also as traveling cost to collect the certificate. The Government authority is also not issuing the certificate in one visit of the villagers, it took several visits to collect the certificate and in this process they are loosing the interest to collect the birth certificate.
During the first phase of the cultural programme, child cultural team organized several programme at community level for awareness building in the community for getting the birth certificate. The OMRAH team members with child cultural team finalize the script of the street play and songs in “Pala, Dashkatai, Gorha Natch” (these are local and traditional dances). Programme organized at village level by the team as “YATRA PARTY” by the children with the traditional costumes. They also used to collect the large gatherings in the villages and passing out the messages in the community for ensuring the child rights. The “BAL KALA JATHA” made the three month long programme on particular theme and they visited village to village to aware the community. It was very interesting for the community that these small children are taking initiative and sharing their own experiences for getting the rights and also using the traditional cultural event for mobilizing the mass. Community got understood the importance for the birth certificate and tried to collect the certificate from the ANM and health workers and simultaneously they were also going to the Block for collecting the certificate but in this process, parents faced with critical problem to collect the certificate from the governmental officials and some how parents became frustrated.
In second phase of child cultural programme, team developed the script and songs based to mobilize the community to demand the services from the system. Once again children with set objective and the cultural team went to the village and organized the series of cultural event to organize the mass to demand the rights from the Panchayat and the Block offices. After a period people started to raise the demand for birth certificate from the pancahyat and block representatives and it must be issued at Panchayat office. Villagers under the banner of “Nabadingata Gramya Uniyan Sangha” went to the Panchayat offices to register their demand that birth certificate process should be done at Panchayat level for convenience of the community, they have submitted the demand letter, community also went to the Block office for registering their voices against the corruption and made the process easier/ simply for people. Other side these small children mobilize the peer group for post card campaign for demanding the birth certificate from Panchayat offices. They sent post card to the Women and Child Development Ministry, Governor of the State, Chief Minister Offices; it was continued for long time. During the cultural event these small children used to collect the post card from the children but they didn’t get any response from the government.
In third phase children are organizing the cultural programme and showing the system of governance in front of the mass, they organized programme at Mela, Hat, Village community hall for strengthening the people’s mobilization process for getting the children’s right and it is continued till date.
As a result it has been seen that local health workers and the ICDS became active and they are helping the parents to get the certificate and in this process a good number of parents got the certificate of the their children. Like this children are also passing the message of various issues like Child labour, drop outs, malnutrition, social discrimination in the society, implementation of equal wages and sufficient wages to the agricultural workers, eradication of exploitative share cropping system, fighting against the caste system, implementation of the NREGA scheme for the benefit of the working class. Etc.