Thursday, December 6, 2007

4th National Convention of Children—Children together Against Child labour "Hum Bachhe Saat Saat Bal Majduri Ke Khilaf"

Over the years, CACL has been striving hard for proper implementation of the fundamental right to education for all children as it believes that all children out of school are potential child labourers. Ensuring rights of every child is indispensable for the all round development of children and can be the cutting edge for the problem of child labour. The advocacy process of CACL for protection and promotion of child rights believes that children must be protagonists for their rights. Effective child participation at various levels can ensure the rights for every child and make the society child labour free. It has been widely observed that many a time children show talents, strength and perseverance in planning, decision-making and organizing things. Participation is a vital process in itself and its promotion at a larger sphere is essential, as it is not a regular feature for institutions and individuals. As children live in a time of ever-increasing pace of social change, they need to be more vocal and expressive about anchoring their lives into a more meaningful existence in the pace of globalization, liberalization and privatization; increasing abuse of children, trafficking and migration. At the same time, the lack of equitable and quality education and lethargic attitude of the state for a pro-child policy threaten the empowering process of children as enunciated by the UNCRC. There is need for children to demand for their own rights. They need to know, understand and propagate their vision for the future. Here the propagation revolves around the child to take the message ahead. The central focus would be to empower equip children with information and knowledge about their own rights, responsibilities and the indispensability of participation at different spheres to eradicate child labour.

Action for the Right of Child (ARC) being a Executive Committee member of Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL) India and Co-Convenor for Maharashtra also participated in national event. The national event started by peach Torch by children. The flame stayed lighted during the three day event to symbolize removing darkness from the lives of children at work.

The working group which was constituted worked day and night to make the event a successful. All the committees which were formed gave their best during these three days event, which included the children’s process, adult process, public hearing Exhibition etc.

Objective of the event:

Ø To promote a national platform of Children Against Child Labour through informed and willing participation, where they can raise their voice against child labour and advocate for themselves.

Ø To draw public attention and pressurize the government to evolve and implement effective policies and programmes towards eradication of child labour.

Ø To create space for children where child labourers, children rescued from labour and school going children come together, interface and interact among themselves on various issues relating to child rights, child labour, their rehabilitation etc. and build alliance between children in school and children out of mainstream schools.

Ø To bring clarity and strengthen the concept of children as protagonist against child labour.

Ø To facilitate the children to plan their own age for eradication of child labour.

Composition of Participation

The number of participants at national event was around 1000 children and 300 adults from 16 states of India. The children were nominated through state process.

Sub- category
1000 child labourers and former child labourers from 16 states.
300 school going children
Child labourers from different sectors.
Girl child labourers rescued and rehabilitated during the free girl child labour campaign.
Children rescued from labour force and in motivation centre, child labour project schools, bridge schools, etc.
School going children from mainstream schools.
Escorts/accompanist – 150 nos.
Facilitator- 65 nos. (app. 1 for 20 children)
Volunteers – 100 nos.
Child Rights Activists/CACL/State conveners/Executive committee members – 30 nos.
Guests & observers from Govt. and non govt. agencies, social movements, mass organizations etc. 45 nos.
Media representatives – 50 nos.

The event was inaugurated by the Governor of Orissa, accompanied by Labour minister, labour commissioner and other various bureaucrats of Orissa. Enlightening and encouraging speeches were made by these people.

Children’s Process:

The Children process Operated along the theme: PARTICIPATION AND EMPOWERMENT of children with the purpose of pushing them into an invincible role of protagonists of their own rights. The information exercises on issues relating to child labour liberate the children from the confines and cultivate a spirit among them to seek alternatives. Finally armed and energized with power of information they were inclined to overcome the present sorry state of affairs. They developed a clear perspective of their own regarding their demands from the stake holders. The stake holders shall be govt. Ngos, parents, employers etc. This was made possible through group discussions, exhibitions, information materials relating to child rights, available legal remedies, audio-visual presentation, puppet shows, film shows etc.

The children were divided into 40 groups with a mixture of at least one child from each state. They were then made to sit in their tents according to their group numbers accompanied by adult volunteers and saathis. Various process were then conducted for the children which included their rights, laws related to them, stake holders, forms of government bodies etc. The children also had to discuss their demands that they want from the government, people, Ngos and themselves. One child from each state was selected for the valedictory. One of the major aim of the process was also to make the children Agents of their own Change, hence the election process was followed to select two children from each state for the National Coordination committee (NCC). These committee will discuss the problems and other measures to be taken to eradicate child labour. The same as we are doing now, but from now on along with children. The process went as per its theme ‘We children together Against Child Labour’

Adult Process:

The adult process revolved around working on three thematic perspectives which was the following: New trends and approaches to Child labour, Child Participation and good practice. Finally there was an adult declaration, a kind of pledge by the adult themselves to do their practice part in ensuring a child labour free society. The adults also worked in groups to write and present the good practices which have been or is being followed in their respective state for eradication of child labour. Heavy discussion by various known organizations and people were conducted which turned out be very useful by all. Activists, lawyers, Ngo heads all of them shared various kinds of good practices and answered questions asked by the adults. Finally at the end of the process the adults also came out with their declaration which will be proposed to the government the world Just and Joyful for all the children.

Public Hearing:

The public hearing process had some children rescued from labour telling their tales of sorrow and how they are doing now. Children from various states were selected to speak in front of the jury members. The most interesting fact was that the Jury members were not only adults but also children. Some children who were never a child labour were selected from various states to be a member of the jury. After listening to the tales of various child labourers the jury members noted down points to be added in the children’s demands and asked for stricter norms for employers who traffic children for cheap labour.


Exhibition on different forms of child labours were on display by all the states. Apart from this the children also got to see things made in different parts of India, which they had never seen and also got to eat different types food.

Cultural Program:

Evenings were entertainment time for children, various cultural events were organized. Classical dances, magic show, mimicry and jokes. The children who participated also presented dances and songs in their regional languages and dances of their states. Finally on the last day a DJ nite was organized where the children, adults and all others grooved to bollywood music.

Finally the children went back equipped with knowledge of their rights and laws and are now ready to combat child labour themselves at various stages.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Thrusday Meetings

The proposed meeting on the 4th of October ( Thursday) will be in the premises of CLR ( Center for learning resources) at 2 pm.

Each of the groups developing material for the 4 priority thrust areas will be presenting their observations for 15 minutes each, rest of the time shall be used for discussions.

It is requested that all of the members get in touch with the rest and ensure maximum participation.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Change of Meeting date

Dear All,
This is to inform you that the Fund raising and fund management committee meeting has been postpone from 21/09/07 to 24/09/07 at 10:00 in the morning at Asha-Kiran's office, Kindly take note of this.

Manish Shroff

Thursday, September 20, 2007

observations on working group - Waiting for comments

Working group members who are going to be meeting/talking to heads of
member organisations: In our meeting regarding structure yesterday,
the following role for the convener organasation was envisaged. You
could discuss this with the org. heads you meet. I have checked out
with George (tdh) that it is entirely feasible and legal, especially
so if the funding is Indian. If we get even 5 orgs on board, we are
set for 10 years!
The convener organiasation puts up ARC as a two year project under its
advocacy activities. The concept, proposal and budget will be written
for them by ARC EC and also the funding will be found by ARC. They
need not worry about finding it, just putting it up. When approved,
the org will open a separate account for the project. The project will
have in it a full time administrative-cum-documentation person, who
will be located in the org, along with her/his computer and cell
phone, for the two years, and will handle all accounting and admin
matters, documentation, organising events if any, etc. The convenor's
work will be substantially reduced as there will be four or five other
people sharing it, about which more later.
The organisation can report on the ARC programmes as part of its work
in its own annual report, as long as it is made clear that the work
done was by network members, not the org alone. ARC will of course
prepare its own comprehensive report.
The rest of the proposed structure will be presented to the GB at the
meeting on Oct.4, along with the other group reports. This particular
thing I am sending you early is to help you to discuss this
possibility with org heads.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Survey of child rag pickers being organised by KKPKP


All member Organisations,

Action for Rights of Child, Pune

Dear All,

Greetings from KKPKP

This letter is in continuation with the discussion we had about about KKPKP’s Child labour Campaign with the ARC coordinator and convenor.

As you are aware KKPKP has been engaged in organizing waste collectors of Pune City. We have total membership of 6200 in KKPKP. The members of KKPKP had taken an oath several years ago to their children to school and not to pick waste. Since then we have seen drastic reduction in child labour in waste picking industry. KKPKP was also involved with other groups in India to ban child labour in waste collecting. The law considers Waste collecting as a hazardous industry and not suitable for children to work in this situation.

Unfortunately we still see children collecting waste, although the number is much smaller. We estimate around 200 children compared to thousands of children a decade ago.

We are conducting a three day survey and doing a month long intensive Campaign to identify all the child labourers in waste industry in Pune city and provide them with alternatives.

We have three-pronged approach to do this rapid survey/Campaign:

1.A three day city wide survey once in the morning and once late afternoon with the participation of student and citizen’s volunteers

2.An intensive campaign with Scrap Dealers to participating to end child labour in waste industry

3.A hotline that will be taking calls from citizens who will call us if they find child labours in waste picking industry.

If some of the member organisations could participate in the three day intensive survey that would be very helpful. We can also the further details of the campaign in the next scheduled meeting of ARC.

I would be happy to answer any questions you may have and please feel to call me for any more information you may need.

In Solidarity.

Shabana Diler



Monday, September 17, 2007

List of the Thrust areas identified in the workshop and the teams formed to look into them

Thrust area

1: - Developing a framework for child rights

2: - Developing structural mechanisms to strengthen

3: - Fund raising and fund management

3: - Establishing relations between members and ARC as a members body

5: - Process documentation of ARC

6: - To work with external systems

7: - Developing communication material for ARC

7: - Increased focus on child participation

Teams Prepaed to look into the above mentioned areas

Area 1: - Shabana, Sonal, Ingrid, Rashmi

Area 2: - Mini, Audry, Anjali, Ujjwala, Manish, Nirmala

Area 3: - Shashi, Manish, Joan, Smitha, Tania, Nirmala

Area 3: - Anjali, Ruma, Ujjwala, Raju, Prakash, Jyotika

Area 5:- Ingrid, Manish

Area 6: - Nirmala, Anjali, Mini

Area 7: - Manish, Shashi, Tania, Smitha

Area: - 7 Jyothi, Audrey

  • Please do note that the Team leaders ( They are the people in BOLD) shall be presenting an action plan on the 4th of october 2007

    Wednesday, September 12, 2007

    ARC Restructuring meeting

    A workshop to help in restructuring ARC was conducted on the 12th September 2007. The workshop was conducted by Ms. Rajshree Mathani. Some of the important conclusion of the workshop were

    1: - Formation of a working group: - The working group consisting of five members was formed to look into various fund management options, the working committee was also entrusted with the job of designing a questionnaire and collecting feedback from all of the member organisations. Findings of the working group would enable ARC in taking important decisions on fund management, location / role of convener & level of participation of the organisation which is taking the responsibility of hosting ARC.

    The working committee would also give a complete report on how various heads of organisations feel about taking on the financial management of ARC and the committee shall also be recommending the best future action.

    2: - 7 important area were identified and members of ARC have volunteered to be a part of various processes. These areas have been prioritised and it has been mutually agreed that a working document which can be adopted by the forum with complete consent of all of the members shall be prepared in a time span of six months.

    A first draft - Action plan shall be presented by team leaders for each of the thrust areas on the 4th of october.

    Monday, June 25, 2007

    Foster Care


    The changing situation of street children in Pune :

    When looking at the rehabilitation of street children, an idea that is being explored is that of foster care for street children. Sathi Raichur an organization in Pune (and a member of Action for the Rights of the Child) is well versed with working with street children since the last 15 years. They work in over 6 states with children on the platform. Through various intervention strategies they try to re-habilitate children into their families and their record of reintegrating children with the family is extremely good and successful.

    However as is commonly known, all street children cannot be reintegrated at home and it is to meet the needs of such children- of having a right to family that the option is foster care is being considered. Recently at a meeting with street children in Pune, Sathi recorded that a boy who was around 12 years had run away from home more than 25 times!

    Another aspect is that most organisations working with street children are realising that their age is getting less and less. Sometimes in the Sathi shelter in Pune, there are around 7 boys between 5 and 11.

    Considering that the child’s right to the family plays a very important role in the over all development of the child, the option of looking at foster care as a means of providing a family environment to the child – even if for a temporary period of time is being looked at. There are a lot of aspects that have to be looked at into it, like the willingness of the child, finding a foster home, permission from the authorities, preparation that goes into it, pro’s and cons and so on. We, as NGOs, also know the down factors, behavioural problems, difficulties in adjusting, education., even language- though most children from the street speak Hindi. The option of launching a foster care programme as opposed to placing children in remand homes is being seriously looked at by Sathi and ARC.

    Pune is slowly becoming a large city with a booming IT sector. Many NGOs in Pune get enquiries from call centre and IT staff, willing to volunteer. Many turn out to be sincere and good. This would be another plus factor- when considering people who would volunteer to provide foster homes.

    We would like to put forth the ideas and points that have emerged through our discussion amongst ARC members as well as with the CWC and Dept of Women and Child Welfare and throw open the space for more views, suggestions, ideas, criticisms.

    Points brought up :
    While exploring the idea of foster care with the other ARC members, the following points were brought out: The first thing was to put the whole thing before the Pune CWC which have come out with the following points:
    i) Foster care would require preparation of both the child’s mind and the parent’s mind. While in this case we are dealing with street children, the preparation will have to be more specific and intensive
    ii) Awareness on this will need to be created through newspaper articles/media
    iii.) Concept of group foster care could also need to be explored- To check feasibility
    ideally trials have to be done where children (individually or in groups) actually try
    staying out with families, so actual problems etc get clearer. Logistic details of what happens when a child runs away from a foster parents house
    etc will need to be worked out.
    iv) The whole foster care option would need to be built on a strong matching-
    mentoring- monitoring process, wherein the child and family would need to be
    matched, mentored and prepared to adjust to each other and monitored to
    assure that the child is benefiting from staying with the family
    v) It was suggested that the child could be placed in a foster care home for a period of 1-3 years and then shifted to a home. The purpose of foster care here would be to enable a child to have participate in a family environment, learn family values and this may lead to the child wanting to go back to his/her own biological family, if he or she has one, or continue to stay with the foster family.
    vi) Information was obtained that that foster care for street children would fall under
    the CWC and parents who are foster parents can have permission on an annual basis
    where they will have to come before the CWC once a year to renew permission

    Areas of counseling fears and apprehensions of both fostering parents and children::
    · what kind of accountability pattern will be there to ensure that the foster parents do not mistreat the child, how to address addiction habits that a child from the street would have acquired?
    · Some street children would tend to use the things of the family in excess, like they may eat a lot or use too much of soap , etc
    · -Also the sexual tendencies and experiences of children from the street need to be taken into account when considering foster care.
    · Some principles on while fostering experiences have been carried out in other places are:
    · fostering families may or may not establish links like an adopting family
    · A child to be placed with a foster family is first sent to a foster home and then placed in a family.
    · ix) Other criterias that need to be looked are the age group of parents and children, whether children should be given to single parents etc. It was decided that preferably broad criterias should be drawn out and then specific cases need to be looked at within those criterias.

    Check list for parents/monitoring and suport:
    - Foster care has to be keeping in mind the best interest of the child
    - Counseling of both foster parents and children are required
    - As of the initial phase, no financial support is to be provided to the family. On the other hand scholarship schemes etc could be suggested looking at supporting the education of the child.
    - Accountability of the family on a weekly/ bi weekly/monthly basis is essential
    - It would be necessary to look at whether funds would be required to meet the other costs of the child. Areas of concern like will a child be comfortable enough with ARC members to talk about any abuse or misuse should also be considered.
    xi) A suggestion was made by was to seek permission from the CWC, talk to some other people outside the social work arena to gain support for the idea and then to hold a press conference for the same and see how many people come forward to volunteer to foster care for children.

    Discussion with CWC:
    1) Information on procedures for Foster Care available in JJ Act 2000 and Bal Sangopan Yojna.2) Children to be placed in foster home to be first placed either in govt institution or licensed home and then can be put into foster home. The process will need to be overlooked by the CWC as far as permission is concerned. Under the bal sangopan yojna, foster family can get upto Rs 1500/- per month to take care of the child.3) Preferably orphan children to be placed for foster care. If children have parents, consent of parents required.
    4) The child and family to be identified and informed to the CWC, then on basis on home study report and after the child is kept within a licensed institution, the procedure for foster care will continue.

    The Probabtion officer of the Dept of Women and Child Welfare stated that once
    the list of children for foster care and families are identified, he could work with
    the CWC on how the children can be placed and what government scheme can be
    applicable to the same.

    As of now:

    1) To create awareness on the idea of foster care it would be necessary to work on press notes and contact social groups- especially in trying to identify potential foster parents
    2) Create a list of preparation required when dealing with children and parents
    3) Trying to speak to organizations and people who have had experience in foster care and get their inputs


    Krupa Mathew Action for the Rights of the child Pune
    Mamma Devi Sathi Raichur
    Ingrid Mendonca Terre des homes