Tuesday, April 8, 2014

People’s friendly village for Child Rights: JMN understanding for child protection

Model Village: People’s friendly village (Janmitra Gaon)

This plan of action is based on the decision taken jointly by JMN & CRY to concentrate on only three intervention areas such as Baghawanala, Shivrampur and Belwa. These areas are selected by JMN to make model villages and slum for child rights. Other than model building, JMN will focus on mobilizing Boonkars (Weavers), Dastakar  (Artisans), Mushars and Nats in Varanasi district for the protection, promotion and fulfillment of their livelihood rights and Human Rights in general and Child Rights in particular.

Specific objectives of the Model Village:

The specific objectives of the project are to build up two villages and one urban slum as models for child rights through taking up the following specific activities:

          Right to Development:

·         To ensure all children to access the pre-primary, primary schools of the government and middle schools of area. (But we cannot bind the rich people to send their children in Government schools.)
·         To ensure quality education to all children.
·         To ensure 100% enrollment, retention in educational institutions available now and beyond.
·         To activate for complete activation of VECs.
·         To take in to mainstream the Physically Challenged Children.

Right to Survival:
  • To ensure 100% immunization of children and pregnant women.
  • Activation of all SCs and PHCs.
  • To ensure the regular health check ups of pregnant women and children.
·         To ensure active participation of Panchayat Health Committees.
·         To ensure the citizenship & identity of each & every individual focusing on Dalits and marginalized.
·         Abolition of starvation and malnutrition.
·         To reduce the child mortality rate by 50 percent, MMR by 75 percent and IMR by 25 percent.

Right to Protection:
  • To ensure land rights of Dalits and minorities.
  • To ensure protection of Human Rights of Dalits.
  • To ensure minimum wages of unorganized labour.
  • Put an end to the bondage of children in particular and their parents in general.
  • Eviction of self proclaimed upper caste from GS land and distribution of these among landless marginalised families.
  • Suitable implementation of Land Ceiling Act and distribution of surplus land among landless, especially Dalits.
  • To ensure protection of rights of the weavers.
  • Suitable implementation of government’s employment schemes.
  • To raise demand ‘Education for All and Work for All’.
  • Building awareness among the people of their rights and duties.
  • Sensitizing the Local Self Government and demand their participation in the struggle toward establishment of CR.
  • To ensure 100% elimination of child labour in these village and slum.
  • Building people’s campaign against Injustice & exploitation.
  • To ensure maximum attendance of people and participation of people in Gram Sabha meetings as stipulated in the Panchayati Raj Act.
  • To reduce the marriages by 100% below 16 years and reduce the marriages by 50% between the age of 16-18 years including Gauna.

Right to Participation:
  • Ensuring participation of the children in decision making process in the village
  • Encouraging children to build children’s parliament.
  • Mobilizing youths in all campaigns against injustice.

The activities mentioned above are our parameters/targets, which has been derived from the Millennium Development Goals, targets set by Planning commission.

Grassroots intervention in field of Human Rights Development and Democracy (Janmitra Village): (Policy to Practice)

Campaigns are very important, but this alone is not enough: implementation & change at grassroots should never be assumed & require additional activity.
A narrow focus can be effective in getting an issue formulated but problems caused by poverty are more complex. If the campaign is not widened out at a later stage it is unlikely to achieve effective change. The challenge comes if there is desire to go beyond informing the grassroots of what is good for them towards ensuring real change as well as engagement & empowerment at grassroots which will develop civil society with potential influence on much other issue. Work at this level- to change attitudes & behaviors & to build capacity & skills need a lot of thrust & require non hierarchical organization with close personal contact.

Jan Mitra Gaon is a village where every individual is assured of his or her social, economic, political and cultural rights as per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is living together within the society without any form of discrimination.
PVCHR believes in participatory activism, which will mean collective demand generation and social transformation.

Concept of Jan Mitra Village
The feudal system prevalent in eastern U.P. has always suppressed the proper growth and development of dalits and the weaker sections in society. This feudalism is the reason behind the marginalisation of the dalits and it has always prevented them from being able to attend schools from generation to generation forcing them to work as child labour, bonded labour, etc. from a very early age. The feudalistic society has always found it convenient to keep such a margin in the society so that their ‘interest’ is safeguarded at all times. It is high time that dalits are empowered and the weaker sections in the society labour, opening a door for the vulnerable groups to do schooling and is given the necessary opportunities to rise to the mainstream of society.
Jan Mitra Gaon is a concept of the people, by the people and for the people. The idea was formed by studying the grassroots problems through discussions and by taking up the problems with Administration, human rights bodies’ etc. over a period of five years. Focus was given to issues like child rights, land rights, dalits etc. One might reach a policy through practice. However, for real grassroots level change, advocacy alone is not enough, but one has to come down from policy to practice which is seriously lacking from the present day society. People friendly village concept is being developed by fusion of village republic concept of Gandhi and social democratic critic of Dr. Ambedakar .Jan Mitra concept has a three pronged functional system:

(a)Jan Mitra Educational Concept.

The word “education” is derived from Latin, meaning “to lead or draw out”. That is to say, to lead or draw out the potential we all posses; to stimulate awareness of what we really are: beings with limitless capacity for courage, wisdom, compassion and bliss; beings who are inter-women with all others and yet completely individual; being who, as the jewels in the myth of Indra’s net, both reflect all others within themselves yet also create them.
We need a method of education to liberate us from servitude to the market and all its wares, and free us to fulfill our potential.
Depending upon the situation in various villages, it envisages activating of Creche where parents of young children who are engaged as agricultural labourers, weavers etc. can leave in these crèches. This will also enable the older girl children to attend school instead of remaining in the houses looking after the youngsters in the absence of their parents; this will also create a friendly environment for the pre-primary school children to go to formal schools on attaining the age of 6. This will act as a deterrent for the parents for not engaging their children as child workers. Under this concept people friendly centers will also be opened for children & adult. Reactivating the formal primary schools and health centers is another important aspect of the Janmitra concept. Thus, education under Jan Mitra concept will break the cycle of poverty, improve equity, empower women, and create health awareness and moreover improved democracy and accountability.

(b)      Organisational Development of Marginalised Groups :        The PVCHR Village Committee will consist of 50% or more members from dalits, women, children and minorities and this Committee will be overall responsible for the successful implementation of the concept. It is the responsibility of this Committee to motivate the marginalized groups to fight Panchayat elections, which will be a major break through for such groups to come to the mainstream of society. The community will be made to fight for their own rights, make collective demands, fight for their land rights, rights to life with dignity etc. They will also be motivated and encouraged to take up collective issues with human rights bodies, etc. under the campaign programme.
          This Committee will be responsible for the setting up of a children panchayat under which a children chaupal will be organized every month. The Panchayat will be formed parallel to village Panchayat. The Children panchayats in all the villages children and forward them directly to the President of India.

(c)          Jan Mitra Village Committee:
The marginalized groups will be brought to the mainstream of society through the Panchayat system, especial focus on Gram sabha and this will enable them to bargain for their rights on a sustainable basis.
If elected panchayat head is pro-people then Jan Mitra village committee will formed for making the model village. If the elected panchayat goes against marginalized people, then CBOs will lead the movement in positive direction and will fight for the rights of marginalized people.
(4)Collaboration It is clear that no one organization can effectively campaign at all different levels, which often requires very different attitudes, strategies & skills. To achieve this complex mix of work, different types of organizations are called for collaboration between them and these different organizations can therefore help in moving the campaign forward.
Child Participation of JMN

Conceptual Understanding of JMN on Child Participation

JMN considers all children upto 18 years as children. In this feudal society, chief of family takes all decisions. This phenomenon is available either in patriarchal or matriarchal family. The structure of family and society is constituted on this premise.  Although the democratic system of governance has been adopted in this country, but there is no room for participation of all persons equally. Regarding participation of children, all adults, families and above all society seem to be diffident. If we closely observe behaviors of children, we find that children fight among themselves and become united after sometime. However, this does not happen with adults. Adults make division in the society on the basis of caste, religion, class and gender and try to inject this division among children.

JMN considers children as an integral part of democracy; and their voices need to heard in all decision making process. However, JMN does not believe in creating anarchy in the name of democracy. In this context, JMN thinks that individuals including children make the society. So it is to be seen that some individuals do not take away rights or enjoy rights at the cost of rights all individuals. In the same vein, society as a whole does not deprive individuals.

 JMN also does not like to form a parallel BAL Panchayats as that Panchayats. The organization considers that it is the duty of the government organs to oversee that local panchayats functions properly.

The organization feels that children should become aware and conscientise about their own rights. And this conscientisation process should not be imposed on them; rather it should grow out from them. So there is a need to have sustained dialogues with children to know their viewpoints about society and after knowing their viewpoints children should be engaged to dissect of their viewpoints. Such dissection will facilitate the process of building perspective among children about society. Activists should learn from children and should engage children for further learning. Then only programme of children should be designed and implemented.

The organisation likes to ensure that children should be engaged in curriculum design, teaching and learning and evaluation of schools.  The organisation believes in creating an environment where every individual including child can equally and intelligently participate in learning and exchanging knowledge and ideas.

Right to Participation

v   Children will take decision.
v  Children and adults will take decision jointly.
v  Opinions of children have been taken.
v  Children have taken decision, which have been prescribed or asked.
v   Children’s voices are heard and children’s perspectives are looked into.

Present position of child participation in JMN

JMN works in two villages: Belwa and Shivrampur. It also works in urban slums- Baghawanala.

Belwa: There is a Bal Panchayat in this village which is known as Sant Kabir Bal Panchayat. This BAL Panchayat stands in fourth category.

Shivrampur: This village has also a BAL Panchayat, which is known as Dr. B.R. Ahmedkar. Maximum members are school going Dalits and other backward castes children.

Baghawanala: There is a Bal Panchayat in this slums,which is known as Munshi Prem Chand Bal Panchayat. Maximum members of this Panchayats are working children and child labour. This  Panchayat stands in fourth category.

Who are members of Bal Panchayats?

Any child in the age group of 6-14 can become member of Bal Panchayats.

How are leaders and where does the work would be done?

All children will elect a coordinator and an assistant coordinator in a village. All coordinators and assistant coordinators will assemble together at the Panchayat level to elect a coordinator and assistant coordinators.

What are the functions of Bal Panchayats?

Bal Panchayats members will understand child related issues and will develop perspective on child related issues. Bal Panchayat members will together in every month. They will organize and agitate along with adult members of the community against exploitation, violation of child rights.

How does Bal Panchayas will ensure child participation?

Members of BAL Panchayat members will reach to all children and sensitise them about their rights. Members will work towards ensuring participation of all children in decision-making.
What would be the role of adults?
The role of the adults would be facilitator of blooming and ensuring participation of all children.

Time frame:

Baghawanala: Baghawanala is a slum dominated area on the bank of Varuna River. There are 175 the most marginalized families. It will take three years to make it as a model area.

Shivrampur: It is a village in Harahuwa block of Varanasi, where we have won the pachayat pradhan election.It will take three years to make it as a model village.

Belwa: It is a village in Badagaon block of Varanasi. In this village we have been working since 2000. This is the village, where a man of mafia has been village head for so many years with out any challenge and fight. Marginalised People of this village had never been able to exercise their vote independently. We have struggled there a lot to ensure the right of the marginalized people and for their democratic rights. (Full story of this village has been enclosed.) It will take three years to develop the base of a model village, but as for as LSG is concerned it will take more 2 years to organize the onslaught movement as last fight against the remnant feudal forces of this village

In Shivarampur and Baghawanala, it might be that it may have taken one year more or less.

Large area?
We thing that our area of working for model village is not too large. We have been working intensively among marginalized communities on priority basis and at other places we are engaged among backward communities, who are facing fear of further marginalization. We are trying hard to fight against discrimination on base of gender and caste, in those areas which are dominated by superstitious upper caste to encounter against health and education‘s problems. We are raising the voice of south from village level to global level on behalf of the politics of South (marginalized communities or countries) against marginalization or exclusion by feudalism and imperialistic globalization.
Village Belwa can be taken as a example given as under mentioned:


Intensive Engagement
Tiwaripur -600
Muslims &OBCs,SC of Belwa Khas
Belwa Khas(upper caste)