Regaining Lost Childhood

Children of Rajabari are left in darkness without any form of basic
education. Not only this, the elders are also not aware of their basic rights,
which mars their development, finds out students of Axom Vidyamandir
and Surovi Shishu Panchyat in Assam in the reality check study.
Depriving children of basic facilities should be considered as serious violence against
them. In a reality check conducted by the students of Axom Vidyamandir and Surovi
Shishu Panchayat on November 17, 2013, the team found dismal conditions of children
in Rajabari village that comes under Pankhaiti Gaon Panchayat of Chandrapur
Development Block of Kamrup Metro District, Assam.
The reality check conducted in the village and nearby communities found large number
of Ánna’ and Ánjuma’ ( common reference of boys and girls in the area) who are living
with no education, no safe drinking water, no medical and health facilities and
recreation facilities. None of the children had any idea of free education services that
the Government provides and which could benefit them. The reality check was
conducted by 85 students along with teachers and mentors.
Illiteracy is the norm amongst the adult population and most of the people the
children’s team talked to were not inclined to send their children to school. Instead the
children are asked to help the elders in the agricultural fields where they work as
workers. The backwardness of the adult population in the riverine area meant their
children continue to suffer deprivation.
The team members asked the children in the Rajabari village about their school, class
and if they ever went to school. The almost universal answer was ‘no’. They knew
about mobiles and television but they did not know about the ASHA (health worker)
lady who sometimes visited them. Besides, they just knew about the weekly market
that is there twice in a week. The children in these villages are simply expected to help
the elders by packaging vegetables and food-grains to sell and earn.
The reality check made the team realize that the both the children and the elders in the
area were not aware of even their basic rights. The team tried to talk a little bit about
their rights -- something they learnt as part of being members of the Surovi Shishu
Panchayat. But none of the children were interested in listening to them.
The reality check study revealed that the children of Rajabari village and adjoining
areas were suffering from the worst form of violence. They are losing their childhood,
and their deprivations would continue when they become adults. They don’t know what
their ‘rights’ look like.

On behalf of the ‘Ánna’ and Ánjuma’ of the area, the reality check team would like to
raise the following questions:

  1. Where is our right to education?
  2. Where are the helping hands and agencies working?
  3. Where are the funds going that were allotted for needy children like us?
  4. Are the children like “Anna” and “Anjuma” eligible to get access to the rights
    defined by UN CRC?
    5.Who are actually responsible for the present condition of the ‘Annas’ and
    ‘Anjumas’ who have no dreams to look forward to?
    (The article was originally written in Assamese by the children which was translated in
    English by adult coordinators)

KAVERI BARMAN , Class VII;
SAMIRAN KALITA, Class VII;
MAMTAZ BUGUM, Class-IX;
SAFIQUL ALI, Class- VII;
PRADIP BAISHYA , Class VIII;
Guwahati

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