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In the history of human rights, the rights of children are the most ratified.
They are abandoned. They do not get a chance to step into school. They are left to fend for themselves on the streets. They suffer from various forms of violence. They do not have access to even primary healthcare. They are subjected to cruel and inhumane treatments every day. They are children – innocent, young and beautiful – who are deprived of their fundamental rights.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) defines Child Rights as the minimum entitlements and freedoms that should be afforded to every citizen below the age of 18 regardless of race, national origin, colour, gender, language, religion, opinions, origin, wealth, birth status, disability, or other characteristics.
According to the UNCRC – that India ratified in 1992 – all children are born with fundamental rights:
- Right to Survival – to life, health, nutrition, name, nationality
- Right to Development – to education, care, leisure, recreation, cultural activities
- Right to Protection – from exploitation, abuse, neglect
- Right to Participation – to expression, information, thought, religion
The Right to Education — The Right to Development
The father of modern education—John Amos Comenius proposed – “all persons should be educated, so we could have peace in the world”. Visionaries of the world understood that peace meant guaranteeing every person certain rights that are conditional for humanity—education being one of the most important.
The parliament of India enacted the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE) on August 2009. The same got enforced on April 1st 2010.
As per the act, education is a fundamental right of every child who is between 6 and 14 years old. The act also states that until the completion of elementary education, no child shall be held back, expelled or required to pass a board examination. There is also a provision for special training of school drop-outs to bring them up to par with students of the same age.
As a charity for child rights, SUIT has been providing education to marginalized children in poor rural and urban communities in 5 states of the country. Its flagship programme- Sanskaarshala- has successfully taken in more than 700 children to educate them. With the motto- “Aao Padaiye, Sabko Badaiye”- SUIT has succeeded in linking more than 1,000 children to schools since its start in the year 2010.
Underprivileged kids lag at all stages of education. When earning a livelihood and taking care of the members of the family becomes a primary matter of concern in one’s life, education stands a little or, very often, no chance of pursuance. For the millions of underprivileged people in India, education is a high-priced luxury, and this negative outlook continues on with every new generation.
However, with its development interventions that are focused on the social welfare of children, SUIT has raised those expectations among the hardest-to-reach children.