FOR THE BETTER
UK-based NGO CRY - Child Rights and You UK works to ensure underprivileged children in India their right to a childhood. 14-year-old Karsan lives in Sagram - a tiny hamlet in the Rapar District of Kutch, Gujarat - one of the most backward areas in rural India. It is drought-prone and vulnerable to natural calamities, and has suffered from flash floods and a devastating earthquake in the last decade. There is an acute shortage of drinking water in his village. Basic amenities like electricity, healthcare and access to education are hard to come by. This is Karsan's reality. As a citizen of India, Karsan has a right to live, learn, grow and play. It is a right guaranteed to all children below 18 years of age when India ratified the convention on the Rights of Children (UNCRC) in 1992. Karsan has the fundamental right to Life, Education, and
Protection against Economic and Sexual Exploitation, among others. In reality, his survival, and those of his peers across the country, is threatened on a daily basis by malnutrition, illiteracy, child labour, preventable diseases and exploitation.
A rapidly growing global economic power, India is home to nearly 120 million children. Yet almost every second child is underweight. A whopping 42% of the world's hungry children live in India1. 8.1 million Children have never enrolled in school, and of those that do, 46% drop out by year eight. There are nine million child labourers in India - the highest number in the world. Over 68% of these working children work in agriculture.
CRY - Child Rights and You UK believes that the persistence of these problems, their scale and severity call for more than philanthropic responses. It is possible to change the harsh reality faced by millions of Indian children and their families. We believe that advocating for the Rights of Children, and empowering them to seek these rights is the most effective way to ensure sustainable change. And we have seen it happen.
When CRY UK's grassroots-level partner, Gram Swaraj Sangh (GSS) first began working in the Rapar district, 54 per cent of all eligible children were not in school, and the distance to a primary school was between 2 kms and 8 kms.
Over 650 were working - either at home looking after siblings, or in sand mining and agricultural work. The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) was 145.
Today, almost 82% of children in Rapar go to school regularly. The IMR has dropped to 57, and 586 children have stopped working. There is a special centre is dedicated to promoting the education of girls, and the organisation has initiated a number of children's groups as forums for children to learn about their rights and discuss the issues that affect them directly. For Karsan and his peers, this means that they will grow up educated, healthy and empowered with the knowledge that, regardless of their castes or backgrounds, they are equal citizens of the country. CRY UK believes in creating such long-term, sustainable change.
CRY UK aims to amplify the voice of India's underprivileged children to reach large numbers of people of Indian origin, as well as others living in the UK, and to enlist their support for the cause of children's rights.
CRY UK partners with individuals, networks, corporations and foundations in the UK to raise funds for the projects it supports in India. CRY UK partners with CRY India - an organisation that has spent over 30 years advocating for the rights of children in India - to support local, grassroots projects engaged in working for the underprivileged children. The initiatives we support work at the grassroots-level to restore the basic rights of children, including street children, the girl child, children bonded in labour, children of commercial sex workers, physically and mentally challenged children and children in juvenile institutions. Today, over 15,00,000 children across India now have opportunities that they could only dream of before, through the efforts of CRY UK and CRY India.
Online pledges for CRY UK's projects in India can be made at: //uk.cry.org/donate/donationoptions.html
About CRY UK:
CRY UK - Child Rights and You UK exists today because we believe that the harsh reality faced by millions of Indian children and their families should not be overlooked. It is a conviction we share with our partner, CRY India - an organisation that has spent over 30 years advocating for the rights of children in India. CRY UK aims to amplify the voices of India's children, and their struggle for survival. Through our efforts, we aim to effect change that will ultimately stop the vicious circle of poverty, hunger, discrimination and the lack of access to healthcare and education. In short, we aim to bring about a change to ensure that every child in India, regardless of race, religion or background, has a fulfilling and enriching childhood, guaranteed to them as citizens of India. For more information, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.