SRF visualises that each child should get opportunity to express and participate in all kinds of works irrespective of religion, community, caste, language, region, sex, disability, or any other kind of discrimination. The organisation makes efforts that the children have active participation in all the decisions taken in their interest.
Bal Paharua Children's Forums
Keeping in mind the spirit of Article 15 of the United Nations Covenant on Children, organisations called Bal Paharua have been promoted in the villages of operational area. Bal Paharuas are children's forums, working on child rights issues with and for the children. It makes efforts to sensitise the community, society and administration by organising different cultural events.
The concept of 'Paharua' is not a new phenomenon. If fact it is quite old one. The word Paharua came from Hindi dictionary. Which meaning is Prahari (Protector) means one that protect us. On the same ground "Bal Paharua" means child protector which is made by the children for the children and of the children.
As it is has been seen that in our society most of the children are deprived from their basic fundamental rights i.e. right to survival, right to development, right to protection and right to participation from their early childhood or what we can say from when child came inside the womb of its mother.
Therefore to protect those basic rights children organized themselves to fight for their justices which is supported by Art, 15 of CRC, which says, "children can form their association". The prime purpose of making this kind of association is to protect child's own rights by themselves. It is like jiski ladai uski aguwai (leadership of the same struggling people). This kind of association of children not only protects child rights but also enhance the leadership quality of the children. In the Bal Paharua group the children of 6-18 years are the member both male and female and there is a leader who leads the whole group. There are no bound of any sort of discrimination among the children in regard of casteism or rich and poor.
Children simultaneously with the protection of their rights also play a role of a watch dog on the proceeding of Government officials and Government policies and local governance (panchayats) that affect the community directly or indirectly. Since the children are that kind of weapon and have power that is able to attract the community their side. They perform their work and put their words in front of the community with innocence. They were also able to convince the community about the benefits of children. By this ground SRF took initiative as an experiment basis to facilitate children to form a group as a Bal Paharua from village Itwa. At this time Bal Paharua plays active role in all villages of operational area towards realisation of child rights.
The main motto behind this association is to sensitize and activate the community so that the community people no only think the development of one regard but the multidimensional development of the key component of the society i.e. children.
Function of Bal Paharua
As it is clear from the genesis that "Bal Paharua" is a association of children who have developed a common level of thinking about child rights and in the field of child interest. There are several function performing by Bal Paharua by themselves, which are as follows
- To unite themselves and give awareness about child rights
- To motivate pregnant mother for immunisation
- To motivate community for birth registration
- To make list of children, who are not enrolled in schools and try to enroll them
- To identify and make a list of handicapped children
- To organize meeting on community issues
- To organize rallies on several issues like environment protection, benefits of immunization, Pulse Polio, benefits of education and many more
- To watch critically school's function
- To works on the gender equity
- To check the ANM visit regularly
- They also act as a prompt and strong campaigner in several community developments programmes
- It also acts as a motivator and awareness generator in the development of the children through street plays, skits, mimickery, role play, puppet shows, folk songs, story telling with phad, etc
- The group is in high demand and is called by the outsiders to stage shows in their respective areas
- Child Rights Training through Children
- Demand for Sports Ground
- Organising Film Festival for Deprived Children
- Organising Bal Dhamal (Children's Fesitvals)
- Participation in Bal Sansad
How they work
For the fulfillment of the birth registration issue they perform street play "Nukkad Natak" and cultural program (local songs) by which they give the importance of birth registration and simultaneously convince the parents to registered their newly born child at Gram Panchayat. They also make visits to the houses of unenrolled children and try to convince their parents to enroll their children. If school teachers and ANM's are not attending their duty properly and regularly then they first convince them to take their job seriously but if they are still not attending their duties regularly then they complained to Gram Panchayat and the organization worker. For achieving all these kind of objectives they used to play street play, local songs, campaign etc. in every village.
However the children are little in size but they have that courage and enthusiasm to change the community in desired direction, which is child friendly. To achieving this objective Gram Paharua support in their endeavors.
The high point of the Bal Paharuas was their participation in World Social Forum, organised in Mumbai in January and February 2004. During the forum the children raised voice for their rights.
Bal Paharua Magazine and Wall Newspaper
The Bal Paharua is publishing a quarterly magazine and wall newspaper to bring matters of concern to the community and civil society. The contributors of this wall newspaper are children working in carpet industry of Sant Ravidas Nagar Bhadohi and street and working children in Varanasi districts. The wall newspaper was inaugurated by the then Governor of Uttar Pradesh, H.E. Vishnu Kant Shastri.
Ham Bachche: A State Network for Children's Organisation
Dr. Shambhunath Singh Research Foundation and Plan India has initiated to provide a common platform with the name “HumBachche” by collecting such children and their children organizations in order to provide a wider surface for raising their voices and to make their reach to policymakers and implementers.
Hum Bachche state level network, a group of 16 Children Organizations from 15 districts of Uttar Pradesh, is working to create sensitization and to make more functional to all categories of society on Child Protection and Participation issues.
During a journey of four years, this children organization is slowly moving in the way forward by taking initiatives with the support of National commission for protection of child rights and child friendly state level authorities.
Children in Changing Climate