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HOW CAN WE ENSURE CHILDHOOD RIGHTS AND AWARENESS TO CHILDREN?

Childhood is the time of innocence and development. The formative years of a child’s life are the crucial for shaping the future. This phase should be carefully managed & crafted so that it brings in the hidden talents and the best in a child. These years decide what a child would become; an asset or a liability for the nation. Therefore, the Indian Government grants some basic childhood rights to ensure a happy, growth-oriented childhood for every adolescent. These enforceable rights offer to provide basic necessities and growth opportunities for the future of the nation.

 

Ensuring Education & Right Nutrition for every child

Education is the tool for child development & nutrition is the requirement of every human being. Realising this fact the Government has made primary education free and compulsory for everyone. The government has also mandated that children have right to receive and share information, as long as it is not derogatory to anyone. They should be properly cared for and loved by their parents and be made available nutritional food required for their growth. They should be provided with hygienic food, clean water and safe environment for healthy all round development. Education & Nutrition cannot be disregarded to anyone irrespective of their caste, color, religion etc. The Government shall provide a decent standard of living to all children whose families cannot afford to do so. These stringent laws and regulations have ensured that children enjoy their childhood and avail Education & Nutrition during the most important years of their lives.

 

Preventing street children

The Indian Embassy estimated that an average of 6,00,000 children live on streets in India. It has been seen that almost 80,000 are added annually to this number and if nothing is done, the future of the country is in distress. Street children are exposed to endless daily issues like sexual abuse, forced begging, labor, petty vending, cleaning cars, drug peddling, pick pocketing and what not.  Street Children are not just a demographic we need to work on but it is also a huge waste of human resource.

 

There are numerous stories hidden in the nooks and corners of the country where orphans, or sons/ daughters of rickshawalas or street vendors worked hard to become IAS or doctors or engineers etc. These stories are not just rags to riches stories but also have a deeper meaning; if every child is given enough opportunity to prove themselves, the face of the nation would change drastically in the coming years. The government is creating skill centres, employment opportunities, education platforms, opening orphanages, NGOs and providing meals & better living facilities to street children for their growth and development.

 

Conducting Awareness programs

Many initiatives have been flagged off by the government as Awareness programs for making the less fortunate cognizant about their rights & privileges. These are much needed for a country which is called the youngest nation in the world having average age of every citizen is around 26. These initiatives work to educate and impart knowledge to kids and parents regarding the value of education, family planning, diseases, first-aid, rights and responsibilities, growth opportunities, governmental schemes that they can benefit from. These awareness programs try to work for the upliftment of the weaker sections of the society and provide them community and governmental support. The potential youth has to be made well informed and educated so that we leave the future of the nation in wise hands.

 

Providing basic needs and proper facilities at schools

Everyone needs proper facilities and basic necessities to grow and nurture. Government has started offering mid-day meals, proper sanitation, free books, free uniform and many other facilities to uplift the street children. The proper facilities at governmental schools ensure that every child receives adequate means of growth and no one is neglected due to his/ her financial stature or caste bias. A library for extra reading, a playground for physical fitness, initiating extra-curricular activities, having arts and music classes etc. should also be made essential for schools for adding to the wisdom of the young. These activities do not just calm and soothe one’s mind but also teach many other impertinent life skills. The basic amenities of clean toilets, well-furnished classrooms, duly painted walls, adequate stationery, well-motivated staff and faculty, all play an important role in adding on to the enthusiasm of children and dedication towards studies. These little things play an integral part in shaping the future of the country.

 

Awareness against discrimination

It has been clearly stated in the constitution of India that there shall be no bias due to caste, color, creed, religion etc.; any such offence is punishable by law. Children should be made well aware against discrimination, initiating it, being a part of it or being its victim. Children should be raised in a society which does not prefer one over the other due to physical appearance or status of living. They should be free from any type of discrimination or prejudices which will create equals in real terms and not individuals with reservation tags.

 

This practice of equality should be imbibed in them from the very initial stages of their life, be it gender equality, caste, religion or any other. A strong foundation would resolve one of the biggest issues of the country and teach everyone that every religion is equal and respectable. This awareness & wisdom cannot happen without the support of every citizen in the country.

 

These practices and initiatives by one and all would make the world a better place to live and prosper. It would spread the message of oneness and create a better future for the country. If we make the children aware of their rights and how to avail them, and they are provided for and looked after, they will make wise career choices and would become better citizens. Today’s child is tomorrow’s future, so if we work on today’s youth the country is surely on a growth trajectory. The awareness programs, taking care of street children and providing them adequate resources for growth would ensure a happier & developed India.

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Social Issues

DID WOMEN’S RIGHTS REALLY HELP WOMEN SUCCEED?

A society is believed to be developed if its varied strata are on the path of growth and prosperity. No society can succeed if half of its population is neglected or troubled. According to statistics collected by the World Bank in 2015, female population in India is more than 48%. If such a large chunk is not looked after and facilitated for growth and development, then the country’s future is in distress. Hence, the Government has implemented various laws and regulations for the safety and growth of women in India. These laws do not just facilitate their growth but also escalate the development of the country.

 

To fight patriarchy

India has been a male dominated country for centuries. There have been many acts, laws, enactments and practices to end the social evil. Nonetheless, patriarchy still exists and at an enormous scale. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2006 was drafted on the very basis that males should not overpower or harass women in emotional, physical or mental ways. Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, Dowry Prohibition Act, Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act have all worked for decades to overcome patriarchy and bring women at par with men in the society. The governmental laws have aided in women empowerment and have made women aware of their rights and how to exercise them but at a very slow growth rate. However, there has been a significant improvement in the number of cases reported every year, women empowerment movements and employment of women at higher roles in corporates which was not the case few years back.

 

To fight for rights

Rights for women have been enforced in the country for decades. There exist not just legal rights but also the constitutional rights for their safety and growth. Article 39(d) in the Indian Constitution specifically states that equal pay shall be awarded for equal work irrespective of gender. Moreover, there are various organizations that work for women’s rights in India viz. Actionaid India, Commit2change, Sayfty, Women on Wings, Apne Aap etc. These organizations teach self-defense, provide educational opportunities, create jobs opportunities and fight sex-trafficking etc. which facilitate women empowerment and bring gender equality in the country. The Delhi gang rape in 2012 shook the country to its core and it gave wave to a landmark movement in the country. It was by far one of the largest fights by the nation for women’s rights. The Supreme Court’s judgement on the brutal case and the changes in the criminal and penal code has made remarkable improvement in protecting women and their rights.

 

Women as leaders

One would not believe but Amul, Dabbawala in Mumbai, Lijjat Papad and SEWA (Self-Employed Women’s Association) are founded by Women Entrepreneurs. India has realised its huge potential in this demographic and various laws have imposed reservations for women at higher level management; 33% seats of Lok Sabha and all Legislative Assemblies is reserved for women, Companies Act, 2013 mandates the appointment of women in the Board of Directors etc. So, women leading change, is going to be the norm in the future of the country and the government is trying its best to bring its women forward. A decade ago, women were rarely seen in many fields like army, mining, governments etc. but now they are flying planes, fighting battles, leading fortune 500 companies and much more. Chitra Ramkrishna, Aarthi Subramanian, Arundhati Bhattacharya, Priya Nair, Rita Teaotia, Shanti Ekambaram are a few examples of powerful businesswomen leading the change in India.

 

Women as lead change in Sunderban

Numerous researches have proved that Women are better managers and administrators than men. Women stepping up have led to great changes and history enumerates numerous examples of the same. Be it pre-independence or post, Indian Women have led many great national movements viz. Gulabi Gang, Chipko Movement, Anti Liquor Movement in Andhra Pradesh, Jagmati Sangwan’s movement against Khap Panchayats, Nav Nirman Movement etc. It is not hard to see women stepping up in Sunderban realizing their true potential and battling natural calamities with their out of the box thinking. A women-led collective, Durganagar Marine Fisherwomen’s Collective, facilitated by Actionaid India has been growing and flourishing in West Bengal. They fish, farm, knit ropes, cultivate vegetables, and use their skills for diverse activities to earn their livelihood. Furthermore, the nationwide movement for abolishing Triple talaq among Muslim community in India is one brave example of women leading the change.

 

Women as entrepreneurs

We all know Balaji Telefims and its founder Ekta Kapoor, but only few might notice that she is the perfect example of a Women entrepreneur. She has single handedly created a niche for her in the male centric society. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairman and MD of Biocon Limited, Rashmi Sinha founder of Slideshare, Sabina Chopra founder of Yatra.com, Swati Bhargava founder of CashKaro, Radhika Aggarwal founder of Shopclues and Shahnaz Husain are few examples of not just women innovators let alone entrepreneur. These women are the inspiration of millions and continue to motivate every girl in the country to realise her worth and lead the change towards a better India. Today’s Indian woman is not just leading forward but creating new waves and taking the road less taken. She has not just proved her mettle but has surpassed everyone’s expectations and broken the shackles of society.

 

Every change takes time and the effects are never immediate, but slow and steady. Same is the case with women’s rights. These growth boosters and equality parameters are working for the benefit of the society but the growth will take place over time. Statistics show that there has been significant growth of women in labor force, bridging gender inequality, girl education, decrease in rate of population growth and much more. So, these efforts for equality and women’s rights are surely helping women succeed and aiding in the growth of the country but the fight for women’s rights is continuous and it would take a few more years to achieve parity. The society is on the right path towards development and if everyone bears a torch, the nation will experience bliss soon.

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What are the major factors for poverty?

The deprivation of the basic necessities of life viz. food, clothing, shelter, hygienic drinking water, medical amenities and toilets is identified as poverty. It is a state of deficiency of the fundamental essentials for living. The addition of ignorance and humiliation by the upper class has made the lives of the impoverished even more miserable. The following are few of the numerous factors adding to the poverty in the world and serving as the primary cause for increased number of people living below the poverty line.

 

Lack of Success in Agriculture

Agriculture is one of the major occupations of all the developing countries and the state of this genre of livelihood is well known to everyone. If the sector which constitutes around 58% of the population in India is grief stricken, the development of the country can be well judged. The paucity of regular supply of water, frequent droughts, over dependence on monsoon and its unpredictability, scarcity of funds for buying high quality seeds, lack of markets for agricultural produce, inadequate storage facilities have not just added to poverty but have also led to skyrocketing suicide rates among farmers.

 

Success of agriculture depends on various factors like connectivity to roads, productivity, infrastructure, training given to farmers, providing hi-yielding crops, markets, government programs etc. Government should accelerate the launch of initiatives and programs for assisting this sector and thereby reducing poverty. The recent budget has promised to double the income of farmers in the next 5 years.

 

Humanitarian Response to Emergencies

Natural Disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, droughts, landslides etc. uproot lives in the blink of an eye. They ruin livelihoods, businesses and lead to an increase in the number of people living below poverty line in a matter of minutes. The low income groups lack disaster response planning which further aggravates the situation. Fragile infrastructure, decaying buildings, perilous rural livelihoods, rapid population growth and poor governance worsens and increases the after effects of natural disasters.

 

Not just this, the lack of support offered by the public in the state of emergencies is another reason of poverty. The scarcity of rescue teams, dearth of volunteers, deficiency of supplies for the grief stricken and improper disaster preparedness disrupts lives and put people in the state of utter misery and poverty. Various Non-Governmental Organisations like Action Aid India provide relief to the numerous people affected by natural calamities. They rush to help and support when disasters strike. Various initiatives by the government also help monitor hazards, assess vulnerabilities and create awareness for disaster preparedness.

 

Failure in Leadership

Leaders play an important role in our lives, be it, in a workplace, state, country or world. Bad leadership has not just reduced the growth rate and GDP of countries but has also increased poverty and suffering. The governmental policies affect everyone and if they are not suiting the needs of the less fortunate, it turns out to be more disastrous than natural calamities. The poor get most affected by these wrong activities and misguided actions viz. inflation, corruption, hoarding of necessities etc.

 

African economy is a perfect example of inept leadership and mismanagement leading to increase in poverty and distress in the continent. The naturally wealthy region is still suffering and is under developed due to lack of amenities and increased corruption. Also, untrained leadership during the natural disasters has caused much sorrow and grief. It should be made sure that one in every 10 persons should be competent and well versed with evacuation techniques, disaster prevention activities and safety drills.

 

Low Income

Low and inconsistent income is one of the direct and major reasons of poverty in developing countries. Due to over-population, the most prized resource of any country, human resource, is not given due importance. Due to the massive availability of this resource, minimum wages are offered which do no justice to the labour intensive and laborious jobs they perform. The low income jobs do not offer any prospect of progression and are highly unpredictable, so the likelihood of rising above the poverty level are minimised. They work hard to sustain and are left with little to no opportunities to grow. There have been various initiatives by the government to elevate poverty by increasing the daily wage rates, imparting vocational courses and growing number of vacancies in the market, but the ever rising population has rendered it only with miniscule benefits.

 

Education

Lack of education inevitably leads to poverty. The ignorant look only at the bright side, ‘more hands to earn, more income for the household’. They forget the fact, it also brings with it, more mouths to feed. Illiteracy and unawareness stoops them in deep pits of financial distress and poverty. Illiteracy leads to unemployment which further deepens the depths of poverty.

 

Various measures by the government to provide free & compulsory education and campaigns that encourage smaller families have slowed the population growth rate but a lot has to be done to bring noteworthy results. Forbidding child labour, free and compulsory education for all, praudh shiksha abhiyan, providing mid-day meals, uniforms and textbooks have all been numerous steps taken by the government to educate people of every age group. Various NGOs such as Action Aid India provide education to the poor for free and offers varied options to the affluent to volunteer for this noble cause and sponsor children in need.

 

There are many more reasons that contribute to poverty and millions living below the poverty line in our country and the world. But, one should look for the solutions rather than focussing on the problems and make an effort for the advancement of the fellow humans. Let us pledge to do our best in eradicating poverty from the world and join organisations like Action Aid India in this noble cause.

 

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HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF WHEN DISASTER STRIKES

Disaster is an act, natural or man-made, which causes great disruption and in some cases, loss of life. It is a catastrophe which has devastating consequences. These include earthquake, flood, typhoon, tsunami, hurricane, cyclone, fire, stampede, collision, war etc. So, to minimize the risk and reduce the effect, one should always be prepared for such disasters.

 

Disaster management is the activity that is done to mitigate risk and overcome vulnerability.  It prevents from a bad situation from becoming worse. It imbibes qualities like quick decision making, thinking on one’s toes and getting out of situations using only few basic things.

 

Although, preparedness can never be like real disaster situation but it builds in us the agility which is required in the real situation. It is very important that everyone learns from the process, it saves lives and households. It reduces the stress, anxiety and at the time of disaster it takes care of basic medical facilities and makes taking refuge easy.

 

Disaster management cannot be same for every calamity, viz. for earthquakes, one should go out in the open so that nothing falls on him/her, whereas in case of floods one should move to higher elevations to avoid the free flow of water. In case of fire, one should run away from the building under fire. So, one should prepare for all the possible disasters that the area is prone to, to avoid loss of lives and assets.

 

Disaster preparedness is an activity consisting of various steps and procedures. One should prepare a checklist for disaster preparedness. The equipment for all the possible disasters that can affect an area should be installed. The installation of safety equipment like smoke detectors, water sprinklers, fire extinguishers etc. should be taken care of. These equipment should be checked regularly and people should be made aware of how and when to use it. There should be proper and regular audits of these installations so that they are up to date and functioning, whenever required.

 

Emergency exit routes should be meticulously thought out. Routes to be avoided should be carefully displayed at a proper place. Emergency preparation drills should be conducted at regular intervals to familiarize everyone with the emergency activities. Everyone should be designated roles that they will be performing in case of disaster to eliminate chaos and panic.

 

Proper place of shelter should be finalized while preparing for the disaster. The place should be nearby and less prone to the disaster. Every family member/ employee in the office should be made aware of the shortest path to the meeting point. A nearby hospital or nursing home should be also visited while preparing for the disaster management. In case of disaster, one should not be left looking for a nearby clinic.

 

Emergency service kit should be prepared in advance which includes basic necessities like medicines, food, water, blanket, sewage treatment, flash light, clothes, tools etc. One should have a quick list of emergency contact numbers & close family members’ numbers as a part of the emergency service kit. Every family member should have a copy of these contact numbers so that they can inform about their well-being and whereabouts.

 

The kit should also include the do’s and don’ts in case of disaster, like, not to use lifts, avoid escalators, turn off the gas knob, avoid turning on lights, avoid going through running water as it may contain current, listen to radio for accurate information about the disaster etc. These instructions are different for every catastrophe. They should also be told and imbibed in minds of everyone while preparing for the disaster, as, these do’s and don’ts can save the amplification of the destruction.

 

Disaster management aims to cope with the disaster as best as possible. One disaster can lead to further catastrophes, so, if we manage the disaster well, we can reduce further damage. Disaster management is a very stressful and challenging task. It is not like managing a disaster preparation drill but an actual situation which tests the pro-activeness and agility of a person. One has to make do with the available resources and utilize them in best way possible to stabilize the situation. It not just means taking care of oneself, but also managing others in distress.

 

But one should always remember, first take care of oneself and then help others. The priority during life threatening disasters is women and children as they are the life givers and future of the nation.

 

Once the calamity has struck and the after effects managed, disaster management also takes care of bringing the life back to its normal course. Therefore, the entire disaster preparedness and management is not limited to the time the disaster has occurred but also includes its aftermath it. The main aim of disaster management is to bring lives back to normal course as soon as possible and with least disruption.

 

A National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) has been launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1 June 2016. It is the first disaster preparedness plan of the country to manage adversities. Its main objective is to make India less prone to adversities and reduce loss of lives. Its major focus areas are warning about the upcoming disaster, medical help, transportation facility, evacuation procedure and search and rescue. It spells out the roles of local governments and municipal bodies in case of disaster. It is a great initiative by the country which strengthens its base as a safe and secure place to live in. Better safe than sorry, isn’t it!

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How ActionAid supports causes in India?

ActionAid envisages a world without: Poverty, Patriarchy and Injustice; a world where everyone enjoys the right to life with dignity.

ActionAid is present in 25 states and associated with 83 long term projects (1-10 years) and 420 short term projects (up to 1 year). They have collaborated with many organizations and civil society groups and work on issues pertaining to women safety, women empowerment, human rights and livelihood rights.

Women Empowerment + Safety

Problem: The average Indian household is deeply entrenched in ideas of staunch patriarchy. Atop this patriarchy are the problems of women’s safety and violence towards women.

AA provides employment opportunities and promote women’s rights and dignity. They ensure political, economic and social independence to women. The interventions of AA encompasses women’s work, gender division of labour, wages and unpaid work. To enhance women’s rights, AA’s interventions also encompasses training boys and men along with girls and women on sexual health and reproductive health issues. AA with its campaigns and interventions aim at women empowerment and women safety across the country.

Recent achievements of ActionAid:

  1. One stop crisis centres – being set up with support of State govt. (MP done, UP upcoming)
  2. Promotion of women’s collectives – more than 30,000 women are part of it
  3. 9,000 women were rendered soft skill trainings including weaving, craft making, driving and zardozi work; educational programmes with partner organisation
  4. Special support provided to 700 women survivors of violence
  5. Training on sexual health rights provided to 11,000 girls.

Livelihood rights And Support for Agriculture

Problem: Unjust land distribution, consequences of indiscriminate land acquisition for infrastructure, social exclusion of groups and caste in land ownership, lack of systems for farmer support – eg. Institutional credit, comprehensive risk coverage to offset increasing input costs and support price, short sighted overuse and industrial agro.

AA seeks to build a stress free and ecologically sound and sustainable process in the farming industry. It preserves natural resources and promotes agriculture that has low impact on ecological commons. It supports movements demanding land rights for the tiller, especially with excluded groups. It has also built seed banks and ensure access to every farmer.

The major part of the country’s GDP is contributed by the agriculture sector. To foster the economic growth, ActionAid has launched various campaigns ensuring better working conditions and livelihood rights to farmers, and restoring a progressive land reforms agenda to the corridors of policy making.

Recent achievements of ActionAid:

  1. Facilitated land titles to tiller (50,000 successes, 2 lakh applications filed)
  2. Procured access to social security schemes for informal sector labourers (58,000 cases)
  3. Created sustainable solutions for farmers and promoted appropriate tech
  4. Organised collectives for farmers

Women Entrepreneurs

Problem: Lack of education, patriarchal society, family ties and problem of finance. In India, being a woman entrepreneur comes with a long list of challenges.

AA aims at spreading awareness about women’s rights through collective enterprises. It impart several trainings on enhancing leadership qualities to ensure women empowerment. The trainings also focus on building technical skills of the woman entrepreneur.

Finance is the blood of any organization. A woman entrepreneur faces a lot of challenges to initiate a business due to lack of finances. AA ensures micro grants in the form of solar lights, pumps, nets, opening stock etc. to initiate operations of collective enterprises. It also ensures that a woman entrepreneur is not deprived of her livelihood rights.

The work of a woman remains undervalued during her entire life. AA ensures acknowledgement of a woman’s work both as an income producer of the family and the voluntary care work done by her. Various training programs are held both for men and women to sensitize them about the voluntary work done by a woman.

The success mantra of an enterprise is the network chain built by an entrepreneur. AA plans out various network building activities with various stakeholders including government authorities at the local, district and state level.

Child’s right to Childhood

Problem: A poor country like of ours is entrenched with child labour. Childhood is the basic right of any child across the globe and majority of the children living in shanty towns are deprived of this basic right.

AA aims to eradicate child labour from the country by educating, providing access to a protected environment and feeding every child in the country. To improve the overall situation, AA participated in a nation-wide study on the status of Right to Education Act by covering 1,100 schools.

AA is taking initiatives to improve the conditions of street children. It ensures that every child in the country is enrolled in a school under Right to Education Act. And, not just enrolment but it also look after the quality of education being imparted in schools. AA also facilitates scholarships for higher education to children so that due to lack of finance, brighter kids are not deprived of higher education.

Recent achievements of ActionAid:

  1. Enrolled 30,000 children into schools and 40% of them being girls.
  2. 1,706 cases of malnutrition addressed.
  3. Rescued 1,467 children from child labour and enrolled into schools.
  4. Rendered scholarships to 7,176 children from marginalised background, 35% of them being from Muslim communities.
  5. Supervised 1,500 schools pertaining to basic amenities and quality of education.
  6. 350 Anganwadi centres started functioning effectively because of the successful campaigns.
  7. Appointed 132 dalit women cooks in schools in the state of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Telegana and Uttar Pradesh.

ActionAid is doing its bit by driving campaigns to ensure women empowerment, women safety, access to human rights and livelihood rights etc. Join the movement and be a part of the change and contribute towards a better society. A society free from poverty, patriarchy and injustice. A society free from all taboos and stereotypes. A society where everyone enjoys right to life with dignity.

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How to take social action on Literacy and Health?

Literacy and healthcare in India are in rampant shambles – this much is not up for debate today. At multiple levels of the democratic government, there is a severe dilution in attempts to tackle these critical issues, as a consequence of a culture of woefully narrow-minded thinking and reckless voting. In a large number of states, elections are swung more by promises of freebies, and hardened division lines over religion and/or caste – which are reflected in the ruling parties not deeming it a priority to work on grass-root level education and healthcare. And we are only speaking of the quantity here – numbers of literate people, mortality rates, etc. Quality is another discussion altogether, vital – but a bridge we have probably not reached yet.

The Indian government estimates that 22% of its population falls below the poverty line – Rs. 27,000 per annum (which translates to a ridiculous Rs. 75 per day). The demographic breakup of this 22% is primarily constituted by rural landless labourers, urban citizens operating in informal sector labour and the destitute unemployed. Rest assured that if you cannot cobble together Rs. 75 a day, you cannot possibly afford as much as paracetamol, never mind private sector hospitals. You also cannot afford to pay to educate your children, ensuring in effect that they do not receive the kind of employment that vaults them over the BPL.

Now public education, public healthcare – these issues only affect someone who cannot afford private sector remedies for the same, yes? Why must the millennial child born to a family that owns two cars and an apartment bother at all? Why the white collared gent in his air must conditioned office care? The truth is, maintenance of this status quo is a direct contribution to the woeful narrow-mindedness and reckless voting that has made Indian governments so reluctant to genuinely legislate to serve their people. And that is only if you choose to ignore the real people, flesh and blood who are condemned to live through absolutely squalid poverty with bottomless pits of loans and poor health while encased from above by glass ceilings.

What can be done to buck these trends? As a responsible citizen, what avenue of response offers some solution to these problems? Activism in India is a remarkably difficult field to venture into, and requires long hours and endless patience to produce results. And while it is undoubtedly crucial, it is not readily accessible to the average middle class Indian juggling a job/education and family. In response to this – a large number of organisations have mushroomed, to offer the concerned citizen a platform to serve society without having to work full time to create that change. These organizations encompass right to education as their primary working arena.

By educating a child we contribute towards the economic growth of the country. Increase in literacy is directly proportionate to better health and better health contributes to higher GDP by reducing sick leaves, ensuring healthy working environment etc. Under Right to Education Act, by imparting education to every child, we increase informative attitude and make people more aware of themselves. Thus, investment in literacy would by default augment health conditions.

Education plays a substantial role in every sphere of life. Right to Education is a great initiative by the government to augment literacy rate and eradicate child labour from the country. Thus, the vision and mission of the organizations thrived to bring a change in the society encompasses of educating children.

The fundamental equation in this kind of operation is beautifully simplistic. A large amount of man-force is required as a primary resource in tackling these problems. However, this cannot be tackled like a corporate would approach it. For one, capital is sparse – full time employees are hard to afford. These organisations appeal to citizens to volunteer their time, and accumulate man-force through sheer numbers, without having to spend to achieve this. As a result, these organisations cut costs at unprecedented levels and deliver solutions at a fraction of the rate that it would take a corporate or a governmental organisation.

Certain other organisations that exist in this very sector consciously follow a different model. In order to engage far more rigorously with the problems at hand, they choose to provide salaried positions – and demand the commitment of a full time employee. These too are Not for Profit, they are dependent on fundraising to survive and function. By providing a salaried position however, they provide people an opportunity to dedicate their professional lives to some improving ground realities in this country. The fact that this provides a meaningful work and a stable job makes this a very lucrative chance for people genuinely interested in making a difference.

Besides this, there are a group of organisations that work in the field of providing platforms to those who choose to tackle problems related to social justice, by providing the kind of financial and logistical support that is often hard to muster for someone starting out in the sector. By incubating these new initiatives and helping them streamline their processes using experience in the field, these organisations make available the know-how required to successfully approach an issue for someone who just has a basic idea in mind.

Overall, there are a number of choices available to the citizen who wants to help his community, especially in fields as primary as education and healthcare. By providing one’s own time – we also make a crucial statement, that this problem demands our attention, and our presence. Kids out there in shelter homes and on streets don’t need our sympathies and materialistic donations. All they need is our personal attention, mentoring, emotional support and above all education. A little time invested in a child can make a huge difference. So, next time make a wise choice between materialistic donations or few hours of productivity?

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How can youth get involved and help people from volunteering?

“When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.”                                                                              — Mother Teresa

The youth is the most prized asset of every country. It is the youth which leads the nation, brings change, builds the future and takes the country to soaring heights. No country can develop if the youth is not focused or empathetic. Youth should realize not just its rights but also the responsibilities. The young should lead and create firm foundation for the country’s glorious future. They should help provide a hand to one another so that everyone can stand with a head held high and make contribution in the country’s growth.

Here are a few ways you can volunteer and help bring change:

Get into Teaching

Education is the tool that shapes our life and molds us into valuable assets of the country. ‘Each one, teach one’ is one initiative taken by the government to get the youth involved in volunteer work. ‘Teach for India’ is a country wide movement which has brought about a huge impact on the society and its upliftment. The young educated citizens of the country should realise the fact that not every child is provided the basic right to education; they should give back to the society as much as they can. Imparting knowledge is one of the noblest of deeds a human can do. They should enroll themselves into Non-governmental Organizations, like Action Aid India to impart education to the less fortunate. NGOs like these provide also basic education to the old, poor and needy so that they are not fooled or deceived in their daily lives. It is said that you learn more when you teach. Experience the joy of giving!

 

Prevent Street Children

The quality of childhood shapes the future of a young mind. The formative years are the most integral part of one’s life and should not be wasted on streets. With adolescence the minds of children transform from innocent to inquisitive and it is at this time that education plays an important role in molding their personal and professional life.

Childhood should not be made futile by indulging in child labor, picking up garbage, drug peddling, pick-pocketing, prostitution etc. They should be carved to be the future of the country. We should rescue and educate them to be better human beings so that they can rise from the life of shame and poverty. There are many initiatives and programs started by the government to uplift them with the assistance of Ministry of Labor. Various NGOs have been working to shine and polish this dark side of the country. We should join hands and make our free time productive by supporting this noble cause.

Women stepping up to lead change in India

Women have been long kept away from their rights. Gone are the days when women were oblivious and ignorant; today is the era of Women Empowerment. The sun has dawned on the change and now women have become cognizant and strong to lead and bring the change in the society. Many organizations have understood the power of women; their exquisite managerial skills are being credited. Women should also realise their true potential to bear the torch and head towards a new society, free from all the social evils and prejudices.

Women should not be considered as burden to the family and be encouraged to follow their heart and live life freely. They are great teachers, empathetic social workers and dedicated volunteers. Various programs such as ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ have been launched to save the girl child. Action Aid India also features an initiative called ‘Beti Zindabad’ for the same cause. Join hands to make the country a better place to live in.

 

Involvement during Disasters

Lives are ruined and households are devastated during natural disasters like floods, typhoons, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes etc. They shatter people and their lives turn around in a matter of minutes. It is during this time that we realise how empathetic and caring we truly can be; everyone cares for the ones they are related to, what makes us human is the fact that we come through for others when they need us. This is the time when people need help the most.

We can contribute be being part of rescue teams, providing financial support, shelter, medical assistance, food and other basic necessities essential for living. We should lend a hand during these natural calamities. Floods disrupt millions of lives in the blink of an eye; we should do our bit by donating groceries, blood, professional services, starting a helpline and offering spiritual and emotional support to the needy. Timely help can change a life!

Volunteer Organizations

There are many organizations working towards the upliftment of the society with the help of public or government. They need volunteers for their routine programs and emergency initiatives. They offers various services like teaching, awareness, rescue operations, child support etc. We can enroll ourselves to support knowledge imparting initiatives and also offer financial aid for these programs. Volunteering activity should be encouraged among the youth of the country as a way of living. Lending a hand should be the norm of the day. NGOs are always in dearth of volunteers which should not be the case. Volunteering activity, if taken up by all, will change of the face of the nation and bring us on the world map with numerous laurels.

We should not focus on the problems surrounding these issues but look for what we can do to provide solutions and help minimize the problems. If we all follow the saying by the great author, Matshona Dhliwayo, ‘See the world as it is; strive to make it as it should be,’ the world would be a better place to live in.