Bachche Aur Sapne

Shikhar Yuva Manch is committed to safeguard the children’s dreams and aspirations.
In Chhattisgarh, and the tribal and rural areas where we work, the children’s basic rights about care and protection, participation and decision making, education and development are at the lowest rung. PRATHAM which works at national level on education has been coming out with ACER report based on learning and attainment tests of school going children. Chhattisgarh has been placed successively year after year on the lowest rungs among all the states in India.
Shikhar Yuva Manch works on three important aspects towards fulfilling the dreams and aspirations of the children from the tribal and rural areas of Chhattisgarh: Education, Participation and Opportunities, and Care and Protection. Since 2008 Shikhar Yuva Manch has implemented following projects to give access to tribal and children out of school, and dropped out of school.
Development through Education in Kawardha
Lack of education has been one of the causes for development backwardness of the region. Children not in school are automatically lured (photo of baiga tribal child journalist and case study) to work from small age. This impacts their development. A project was launched in 2008 to address the root cause as well as the manifestation of the out of school children: LANGUAGE barrier between the Baiga tribal children and the non-Baiga Chhattisgarhi teacher teaching in Hindi medium primary schools, and CHILD LABOUR.

SYM in partnership with NEG-FIRE worked in 22 villages of Bodla block in Kabirdham district from 2008 to 2010. Key Highlights

  • Consultation with State Education Dept., UNICEF, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Read India Read-CG (PRATHAM) on the issue of out of school children, child marriages, child labour, and monitoring support of the state agencies in the interstate border villages, and especially in Baiga tribal villages situated at the hilltops.
  • Bal-Swaraj: 12 children, including 2 Baiga children were trained as child journalists for a monthly bulletin named BAL SWARAJ (a joint initiative of UNICEF and Mayaram Surjan Foundation) covering child rights issues (child marriages, child labour, out of school children etc).
  • TLMs: Two sets of TLMs developed used extensively to retain the children in the class: (1) Cotton Boards, and (2) Tak-Dhum-Tak-Dhum songs primer.
  • Network of seven NGOs viz. (i) Shikhar Yuva Manch, (ii) Gramodaya; (iii) Navin Bharati; (iv) Jan Kalyan Sansthan; (v) Astha Seva Sansthan; (vi) Vikalp; and (vii) Sarthak
  • Convergence with tribal development dept for setting up of hostel for 63 children Loop village. This was an outcome of the Bridge Centre started at Salhebara for 35 children. President of Baiga Maha Panchayat took keen interest in overseeing the smooth functioning of the hostel.
  • BAL MELA: More than 50 Bal Melas where about 2150 tribal children participated for the first time(our target was 894 children, and more than double children were enthused to participate).
  • TEACHERS’ MELA: This was an unique idea of gathering teachers (54) from the remote primary schools, and apart from identifying the issues related to retention and teaching-learning, teachers played games, sang songs, and created new TLMs.

Mainstreaming Baiga Tribal Out of School Children

The Baiga villages are situated in the hilly terrain, and walking down the hilly footpath for small children is treacherous. This is the major reason that denies right to education to tribal children, especially PTVG like Baigas who live in the hills. Baigas live in small hamlets with houses spread across the area. So even if a school is established at any place, the small children have to walk down through the forest.
As a solution to the problem, NFE centres were started in Chilpi area of Kabirdham district in partnership with SMILE FOUNDATION. Some highlights

  • 6 NFE centres in Chilpi Ghati (valley) for Baiga tribal children. This is a door-step school for the children, and as such the attendance is very good.
  • 221 children from the Baiga community which were out of school were enrolled in the NFE centres.
  • 66 tribal children from the NFE centres in year one and 48 in year two were mainstreamed in the regular schools.
  • SDMCs were trained and they took active interest in the Mid Day Meal. As a result, MDM was regularised in schools.
  • Teachers were trained in child friendly Teaching-learning Material. The teachers understood the importance of TLM.
  • Shikhar Yuva Manch ran the primary school in Belapani for one year. The government then took it over and the school is going on.
  • Shikhar Yuva Manch started one new primary school in Salhebara and established a hostel with the active participation of the leader of Baiga Mahapanchayat. The school was regularised by the government.
  • Shikhar Yuva Manch organises an annual fundraising event in Bilaspur. During one of such events, a fundraising event named HOUSALA was organised in Bilaspur town for support to Children with Special Needs. In the event, the individuals donated tricycles for children with special needs to commute from home to school and back.
  • Besides this (project) ran 45 NFE centres for 1850 out of school children and mainstreamed all of them.

Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009: Facilitating network and capacity building for the implementation of the Act.

The Right to Education Act 2009 is one of the watershed moments in the education scenario. For Shikhar Yuva Manch this was an opportunity to enhance its work, and along with participation in the UNICEF’s flagship programme of RTE WATCH, it also took a leading role in facilitating RTE FORUM at the state level.

Highlights of RTE WATCH (2013 to 2016) programme

  • Monitored 75 schools in three blocks (Bilaspur, Bodla, and Lakhanpur) in three districts. Trained and handheld SMCs and village institutions to participate in the monitoring of the schools. Teachers’ attendance, which was a critical issue, was addressed.
  • Weekly classroom observation by trained RTE Facilitators which was fed into the centrally designed tool, and shared with education dept. Advocacy with education dept for corrective actions. Cluster and block level training of teachers for child friendly pedagogy, and practices.
  • Trained block level administrative staff to prepare an “Education Inclusive Village Development Plans” for each Panchayat. Handheld staff and guided community to jointly prepare the VDPs.
  • Covered 12095 households from 100 villages belonging to 57 Gramsabhas through this programme.
  • Retention rate across the schools increased across the schools.
  • Learning Attainment levels in class 3, class 5, and class 7 improved.

Affordable Quality Education to All

Shukhar Yuva Manch is of the opinion that access and retention is not enough to usher in the development. It is a non-negotiable position of the organisation that “tribal children have the right to affordable quality education”. A project was launched to pilot the conceptual framework and strategise about the “affordable and quality education to tribal children” in partnership with Oxfam India Trust, 5 villages from Pali block of Korba district. Of the 1488 households, 88% are tribal (ST) while dalit’s (SC) are about 2.5%. The project which has started in 2018 is of importance against the out of school children data at the state level (14-15).

Bal Panchayats (Children’s Collective or Groups)

What is “Best Interest of the Child”? The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Children (CRC) establishes four guiding principles: nondiscrimination; best interest of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and children’s right to express their views, and have these taken seriously in all matters affecting them-the right to participation. How to ensure this? By developing platforms and spaces for the children to come together, understand the rights framework, and express their views. Shikhar Yuva Manch is committed to child participation and in last ten years or so, we have developed Bal Panchayats (Children’s Councils) at the village level. The Bal Panchayats meets and discusses the child rights scenario in the area. At the block level there is a federation level council of children, and there is district level association.
Bal Panchayat members are trained in child rights, as well as other activities like Bal Melas, art and craft, and the development of the magazine. Hamar Bal Panchayat: this is a children’s magazine published by Bal Panchayat. All the work, from writing, editing to publishing and dissemination is carried out by the members of the Bal Panchayat.

Moar Sangwari (We Friends)

This is adolescent boys and girls group. The children who have been in Bal Panchayats as children and grew up to become young adults works is a complimentary group to Bal Panchayats. It provides counselling and coaching to school going children.
In each village there is this Moar Sangwari who guide the younger children. The group facilitates the children’s groups, provides insights and inputs on child rights, and helps in curricular as well as extra-curricular activities.
Besides counselling and coaching support to school going children, Moar Sangwari is a friends’ peer group. Through this group, the adolescent girls and boys share their concerns, and issues, try to find solutions.

  • Space for girls to share experiences, issues and be happy to be together
  • Guiding young children in studies, activities and child rights
  • 30 Moar Sangwari Kendra in 3 districs

CHILD LINE

Childline is a national 24 hour free-phone emergency outreach service for children in need of Care & Protection.
Tribal and Rural children from CG are vulnerable and susceptible to abuse and harassment. Childline addresses these issues.
Childline caters to missing children, abused children, runaway children, trafficked children, children at work, and children in disaster situation.

Call 1098 toll free from any phone service in India The steps

  1. Child or Concerned adult calls 1098
  2. Gets connected to the childline helpline centre
  3. Childline team rushes to aid the child
  4. Child is provided rehabilitation and constant follow up

Childline Help Line run by Shikhar Yuva Manch

Shikhar Yuva Manch runs Childline at three centres viz. at Bilaspur (Bilaspur district), Pondi Uparoda and Pali (in Korba distirct). Childline in Bilaspur was started in 2011 while in Pali and Pondi Uparoda were started in 2015. Since then we have provided care and protection services to following:

Category No of Children Bilaspur No of Children Pali No of Children Pondi Total number of children covered
Provided Medical Aid 283 266 282 831
Provided Shelter 77 10 11 98
Restoration to Families 104 16 5 125
Protection From Abuse 187 63 84 334
Provided Sponsorship 6 32 26 64
Provided Nutrition support through NRC 149 253 402
Dropout Enrolled in school 113 371 484
Helped open Bank
Accounts
80 41 121
Child Lost 131 14 12 157
Emotional Support
And Guidance
138 151 308 597
Conflict With Law 47 7 54
Parents Asking Help 134 9 24 167
Other Intervention 131 189 320
Total 1115 1046 1655 3816

Children need care and protection. Child Rights Covenant (CRC) has stipulated steps to safeguard the children’s rights. Indian government also enacted legislations in lieu with that. Two important legislations are Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, and Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, 2012. Through organisation’s field operations and Childline, the children are provided care and protection.

The Rescue of Vimal

Her ordeal started when nine year old Vimal (name changed) was handed over to a government servant family in Bilaspur by her alcoholic father. Vimal’s mother died a few years ago and her father, ostensibly in want of money, took her to Bilaspur and left at the mercy of the family. She was used as a house maid servant by the family in violation of the child labour laws. But that was not the end. She was subjected to physical abuse and mental torture if the work did not satisfy the family where she was handed over to. After about one year, Childline came to know about Vimal’s ordeal, and with the JJ Police Unit freed the child from the clutches of the family. Vimal now stays in the government shelter home for last six years, and studies in eighth class. She is a bright student, says 

“I like to play football, and dance. I want to forget the pains inflicted upon me by that family.”

In last six years, Childline run by Shukhar Yuva Manch has helped about 98 children to find a place in shelter homes, and provided care and protection services to almost 4000 children.

Achievements of 2017-18

Toilet construction in school
112

Units

17164

Students

Developed BALA (Building as Learning Aid)
81

Schools

2673

Students

Material Support
84

Schools

2948

Students

Mini Science Lab
23

Schools

457

Students

WASH Programme
187

Schools

13576

Students

School Enrollment
287

Schools

800

SMC Members