Children’s Day Stars from Tamil Nadu

This good news comes to us from Tamilnadu, India.

20th November 2019 is celebrated as International Children’s Day. On this day 30 years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the historic convention on the Rights of the Child which recognized children as individuals with their own rights. Commemorating this feat, the UNICEF Chennai chapter put together a compendium of 30 child heroes from different parts of Tamil Nadu who have fought against all odds for their right to education.

Here’s a look at the lives of three of these mini-champions;

Sangetha is a first generation learner who was taught by her father to always fight back. Hence when her school asked her to pay Rs 1000 as tuition fee, she refused and said that no fees should be collected in government schools. Soon Sangetha also convinced two of her classmates to also not pay anything. Once she was hit with a cane by her teacher. She sat in protest and told the school that she will complain to the police and childline. Sangetha aspires to join the IAS someday. She also loves to write poetry and compose music.

Samandhi is 15 years old and comes from the Irular tribal community. Once at a gram sabha at her village the district collector was addressing the problems of the villagers. When no one spoke of the woes of her community, Samandhi stood up and spoke about how their houses have no thatched roof which makes nights scary, and also no access for ambulance and even no cemetery. She consequently mobilized her community to sign a petition which urged the authorities to build the first toilets in their area. Samandhi aspires to become a Collector and end discrimination as she is tired of her community being ostracized.

Altaf had mounting debts and an alcoholic father which pushed the 16 year old to ignore school and work odd jobs in order to support his family. With a little help from an NGO he is now back at school. Grateful at the help he has received, Altaf has turned into a campaigner rallying for basic civil rights. He has successfully lobbied for streetlights at a park in the neighborhood. Altaf was also one of the many children who prepared a situation report listing violations of child rights, just before the 2019 parliamentary elections. Altaf wants to reach out to every child in the world and hence he believes short films and movies is the way to go.

These everyday heroes are fighting against all odds, raising their voices today so that children can have a better tomorrow.

Image source: The Quint

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