Is it enough to provide jobs, skills and training to a generation of rural men and women instead of focusing on equal opportunities for their children?
It has been seen that in rural India, despite of the rapid economic growth, the inhabitants do not get equal opportunities compared to those born in urban India. One of the most common examples is the former president of India, Mr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who came from such a background and became the chief of DRDO and also the honour to be the first citizenship of India. But what about his friends, relatives or neighbours from his native village? The people of India never look at those who are left behind.
Everything we do is for our tummy. Thus, it all starts with food-sufficiency. It is often said “bhookhe pait bhajan na hoye”, which translates to food in adequate quantities is necessary before pursuing something. Remember, there is a big difference surviving and thriving.
This means addressing hunger and poverty must be the first priority. Taking this into consideration naturally uplifts health, nutrition and education. Social progress in terms of gender, family relationships and caste can also be developed. In the recent times, cash has been flowing increasingly but that is not enough. There are still some places which experience child malnourishment, maternal and infant mortality. Rural citizens have lesser decision making powers and almost no control over their own assets.
Education plays the key role
Access and quality of education is the major concern in rural schools as there are fewer committed teachers, lack of proper informative books and learning materials. This is why, an initiative has been taken by some of the non-profit organisations in India to provide appropriate rural education.
These organisations are mainly operated by NGOs and thus, majority of people living in villages have understood the importance of education. It is also clear to them that education is the only way to get rid of poverty. Today, people are not dependent only on government schools, as acquiring education has become a lot easier. Even the number of teachers has increased, that too with a commitment. Education for rural children in India has never been so easier with the help of such non profit organisations.
When it comes to rural India, urban citizens must not underestimate them and in general, it has been seen that villagers too give a tough fight in all aspects of the urban world.
It is always difficult and challenging task when it comes to improving the quality of people’s life with disabilities. World Health Organization reports that in the entire world, ten percent of the global population is affected by disability. But they also report that understanding and intervention for the ailments at an early age can help a lot in the future. This is why, understanding the disabilities is always appreciable.
Learning the disabilities
First, you need to understand the type of disorders and signs of the disability. Then only you can pinpoint the specific challenges related to the ailment and find a decisive treatment program that works. Every disabled person needs proper encouragement, nourishment, love and support. But when it comes to learning disabilities, these positive reinforcements can help to ensure a strong sense of confidence, inner-meaning and determination to keep going when things are tough.
In case you have a child with learning disabilities at home, as a parent your job is not to cure the problem, but to help your child by providing social and emotional tools that he or she needs to overcome the challenges. In the long run, the education (physical and mental) can let your child understand the life, thus growing stronger and more resilient. Keep in mind that the way you respond and behave to challenges creates a big impact on your child’s life. Showing a good attitude may not solve the problem but it can definitely give your child more confidence and hope.
What can you do to deal with your child’s learning disability?
Learning disabilities: The wand is in your hand: When you are dealing with learning disabilities, keep this in mind that everyone faces obstacles. It’s up to you how to deal with those obstacles without becoming discouraged or overwhelmed. Provide your child with plenty of moral and emotional support.
Be your own expert: Do your own research and come up with new ideas and developments in learning disability programs. It can be educational techniques and therapies. At the first stage, if you are not confident enough, you can take ideas from therapists, teachers, doctors and even home for children with disabilities. But remember, the baton of charge is in your hand and thus, you need to be careful while dealing.
Learning disabilities may be a bit complicated at the beginning, but once you become adept, things will be a lot easier.
On the 10th of September, 2017, the Bengal Para Sports Association had organised an All Bengal Para Swimming Championship competition at Salkia Swimming Pool Association. The participants in the competition were boys & girls with special needs from all over the state of West Bengal. Students from Asha Bhavan Centre, 7 students from residential home with volunteers also participated. Our students with special needs participated in junior, sub-junior and senior competitions including freestyle 50 metre swimming race. It was very tough competition, however our students wins with flying colours which includes 4 gold & 3 silver medals. Others students from our centre despite of having 80 to 90 percent of disabilities, all of them completed the 50 metre swimming event within 1½ minutes.On the 10th of September, 2017, the Bengal Para Sports Association had organised an All Bengal Para Swimming Championship competition at Salkia Swimming Pool Association. The participants in the competition were boys & girls with special needs from all over the state of West Bengal. Students from Asha Bhavan Centre, 7 students from residential home with volunteers also participated. Our students with special needs participated in junior, sub-junior and senior competitions including freestyle 50 metre swimming race. It was very tough competition, however our students wins with flying colours which includes 4 gold & 3 silver medals. Others students from our centre despite of having 80 to 90 percent of disabilities, all of them completed the 50 metre swimming event within 1½ minutes.
Based in the Kathila campus of Howrah, Asha Bhavan Centre (ABC) dedicates its services to the development, growth and welfare of marginalised sections of society and underprivileged children as well as adults. ABC endeavor has been to reach out to unreached people with all walks of life and create awareness and ensure the rights of people with disabilities. The primary purpose of ABC India is to serve as a tribute for glorifying the dedication, spirit and perseverance of countless energy radiating & vibrant young minds, who are struggling everyday against odds to remove social inequality, poverty and illiteracy particularly in remote rural villages.
Every year, more than forty five thousand beneficiaries receive the services offered by ABC from its different units. The organisation distributes aid and assistance to underprivileged communities through a wide range of useful initiatives, including:
Dominique Lapierre Home For Children with Disabilities, Kathila
Special school (Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme)
Vocational Training Unit
Dominique Lapierre Home For Children with Disabilities, Keoradanga
Community Based Rehabilitation Department
Education Project Chain of BVM School
St. Teresa’s School
Rehabilitation Council of India Approved D.Ed.Spl.Ed. (M.R.) Course
Supplementary Education Program
Dispensary (Out Patient Department)
Supplementary Nutrition Program
Research Program for a Child with Cerebral Palsy (LEAP-CP)
- Sponsorship Programme
In the near future, ABC would like to expand more serving to people in further remotest corners of the state as well as the nation. The entire team working behind the success of the organisation consistently strives to make meaningful opportunities available for marginalized communities to ensure their economic & social development. Their main goal is to create a better world for people with disabilities and uphold their equity, self confidence & dignity in the society. Build confidence and strengthen their potential with constant motivation and support so that each individuals with various degrees of disabilities would continue adding new feathers to their crown of achievements for many years to come.
Art & crafts are more than just a lovely pastime for the summers. As of now, they are excellent sources of skills development, entertainment and income generation for many including children with disabilities. Apart from offering a social forum through which they can explore their creativity, the realm of art also provides an outlet for expression. Let’s take a look at some really simple craft projects that can be included in the activities of any home for children with disabilities.
Polymer Clay Fridge Magnets
Things Needed: Multicolored polymer clay, cookie cutters or plastic knives, glitter, paint & self adhesive magnet pieces.
Clay can greatly help kids having developmental disabilities to enhance their motor skills involving hands & arms, since the product must be rolled and pressed into shapes. Besides that, fridge magnets are easy & fun to make as well as useful. Moreover, very little instruction or guidance is necessary for preparing them.
Paper Mache Bowls
Things Needed: Glue, 1”-2” multicolored paper strips, styrofoam or paper bowl forms (balloons will do too)
This one can be a wee bit messy, which is why it would need greater supervision. However, the project itself is rather simple, since it just requires applying paper pieces over inflated balloons or bowl forms. The strips can be applied using a paintbrush after being dipped in glue. Each bowl must be built using multiple layers of paper.
Terracotta Painted Pots
Things Needed: Paints, brushes, terracotta pots
Painting is a diverse medium for projects related to arts and crafts, and does not necessitate too much skill either. As such, this task would not need a lot of supervision. There are plenty of health benefits associated with painting. According to research, it can improve the memory of those with Alzheimer’s. Painting has been proven to aid in developing problem solving skills, since it allows for personal expression through a blank canvas.
Fun Fireworks T-Shirts
Things Needed: Multiple rubber puffer balls, paper plate, bright coloured fabric paints and white T-shirt.
Making fireworks T-shirts are not just fun and wearable crafts, but also excellent for kids with severe disabilities. First the fabric paints will have to be squirted on the paper plate. Next, the children can dip puffer balls into it and apply the colours onto the shirt. The patterns resulting from that would bear the semblance of exploding fireworks.
For more interesting craft ideas for special kids, you can check out online magazines or perhaps come up with some innovative idea of your own.
Due to the fact that the constitution of India recognises children as citizens of the nation and accords them with certain rights, there are also special laws in places for protecting the rights. The constitution incorporates most rights stated by the UN Convention as child rights through Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy.
Let’s take a look at those rights in detail:
Constitutional Guarantees Meant For Children Only
- Right to education compulsorily and free of cost for any child 6 to 14 years of age, as stated in Article 21 A
- Right to enjoy protection against any form of employment that can hazardous, until 14 years of age, as mentioned in Article 24
- Right to have suitable protection against abuse or forced employment in occupation unsuitable for their strength or age, provided by Article 39(e)
- Right to equal facilities and opportunities for developing in a sound and healthy manner, and in conditions of dignity & freedom, as well as guaranteed protection against exploitation during childhood & youth and also against material and moral abandonment, as given in Article 39(f)
- Right to education and childhood care until the completion of 6 years of age, declared by Article 45
Other Rights Guaranteed to Children As Citizens of India
- Right to equality
- Right against discrimination
- Right to enjoy protection against trafficking and forced bonded labour
- Right to due process of the law and personal liberty
- Right of the minorities to have their interests protected
- Rights of the weaker sections of society to have protection against all types of exploitation and social injustice
- Right to standard of living, nutrition & improved public health
The Constitution also bestows power in the government to enact legislation for taking care of, promoting and protecting the child rights. Certain acts, such as the Child Marriage restraint act, Child labour act 1986, JJ act, etc. have been implemented in order to further such powers.
There are many NGOs all across India that also work for the protection of child rights. So far, they seem to be doing an exemplary job in safeguarding the basic rights of children and youth. For instance, Asha Bhavan Centre, a not-for-profit organisation in West Bengal, has been actively working towards protection of the rights of children with disabilities. It also provides counselling services to parents and the local community to generate more awareness about child rights and their significance in our society.
Most studies conducted in the sphere of child rights show that the violation of rights guaranteed to children is not the outcome of one factor, but has been brought about in India by multiple inadequacies and failures. The factors responsible for it are largely interlinked, and merely extensive policy reforms would not be enough to curb them. Rather, reforms must be combined with an effort to bring about significant changes in the mindset of the common people.
Now let’s have a quick discussion about ways in which the child rights are presently being violated in India:
Violence, particularly that of a sexual nature, against children, generally occurs due to social stigma. According to surveys, in 2012, nearly 9500 children and adolescents were murdered. In addition to that, 1 among every 3 young girls aged 15 to 19 years becomes the victim of emotional, sexual or physical violence. Unfortunately, violence inflicted by family or people at institutions is almost never reported because of the existing family structure in rural (and also, urban) India.
Even to this day, when India is proving itself to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world, child trafficking remains alive and well. From extensive studies, it has been concluded trafficking of children thrives mainly due to 3 reasons – less opportunities & widespread poverty, trafficking being a lucrative criminal business, and lack of effective initiative to enforce child rights.
A report published in 2015 by U.S. Department of Labour showed India is one of the 74 countries in the world that produces various goods through forced child labour. There are still hundreds of children who have to work hard in fields for extended hours, and even toil in labour intensive fields such as mining, farming, embroidery, stone cutting and so on. Apparently, child labour seems to incidentally higher amongst OBCs, Muslims, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, even though there are reservation policies to ensure more opportunities for this demographic.
In order to curb such child rights’ violations and many others, various government as well as non-government organisations are working stupendously to create awareness among people and ensure better opportunities, particularly in terms of rural education and employment in India. But their efforts would not be enough without participation of the common people in initiatives for eliminating injustice and discrimination against marginalised sections of the society.