Indian Students Rally For Children’s Rights

rally  Five thousand children from various sections of Delhi joined representatives of 27 states and union territories who had gathered in the national capital for the culmination of the Global Action 2015 launch.  These children who were largely in their teens assembled at Jantar Mantar to seek the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals that are due to be delivered by the end of this year.

Children from numerous schools and civil society organisations that represent varied child-rights issues, joined the children’s social forum that called for a budget that reflects a stronger commitment toward the last child.  Using varied media like street plays, flags, drums, posters, slogans, puppets, unicycles, and varied regional dances children highlighted the issues of children of India. The children also honour a one minutes silence in honour of their Bapu by gesturing Gandhi’s Monkeys to symbolize children millions of India’s children who are not given age appropriate forums to speak or whose voice goes unheard or who still live in bondage in varied degrees.

15 year old Swarnalaxmi who braves total vision impairment from childhood addressed the gathering in her role as the ‘Prime Minister’ of the national children’s parliament that is facilitated by the NINEISMINE campaign. She called urgently for a society that ensures the inclusion of all particularly children with disabilities and from various vulnerable communities including Dalits, Muslims and Adivasies.

Varied global and National campaigns rallied in to call for a society that honours the Millennium Goals as well as includes children in the new Sustainable Development Goals. Amitabh Behar the global co-chair of the Action 2015 Launch said that this gathering joined the energy of similar gathering across 80 nations of the world.

Ms Annie Namala launched the Up for School global campaign which draws attention to ensure that every child has access to equitable quality education. Ms Namala added that ‘in India the campaign is to draw in the children of socially excluded communities.’

Paul Diwakar, the National Convener of the Wada Na Todo Abhiyan which leads the NINEISMINE campaign called for a deliberate focus on children from vulnerable communities in our Budgets. With little over 60 days left for the 31st of March, Ambarish Rai called for the complete implementation of the Right to Education by the set deadline.

The children staged a flash Mob in support of the global One Billion Rising campaign that ended with all the 5000 children singing and dancing to the tune of ‘Jagore Dilli Jago’. The children of the NINEISMINE campaign also staged a second flash mob in which the children asked for the fulfilment of all their rights. The streets of Jantar Mantar reverberated with the chorus “Sadda Haq Ette Raq” as the entire gathering danced and gestured their demands.

Speaking at the close of this event, organised by young people of New Delhi themselves, Br Steve Rocha called for young people and the nation call to commit themselves to building an INDIA – an Incredible Nation Dedicated to the Inclusion of All. The gathering closed with a unique rendition of the national anthem in sign language as a symbol of the children’s commitment to amplify the voice of the unheard.

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