Child right parliament is an event which is being conducted for the last 10 years.It is an initiative by Karnataka Legislatures’ Forum For Child Rights and Karnataka Child Right Observatory.This concept was developed by the Child Right Trust Bangalore. This event only happens in Karnataka. It mainly focuses on child rights and reiterates the fact that every child has a right of living, right of protection, the right of participation and right of development as framed by United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children in 1989. It was signed by the Government of India in 1992.
In Gadag district, this event is being conducted since 2013.This year, Mantra was chosen to organize it by the Child Right Trust (CRT) and Karnataka Child Right Observatory (KCRO). This is a very vital event when it comes to selecting district representatives to attend the State Level Child Right Parliament held in the Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore. This parliament provides a platform to these children to discuss their district level issues and challenges. They also get an opportunity to voice their opinion to the honorable Chief Minister of Karnataka Shri Siddaramaiah and other concerned ministers namely Education minister, Women and Child Development minister, District In-Charge minister and all the MLAs of the district.
To be able to achieve this, the work at the district level needed to be flawless. The one big challenge for us was to get the participation of children across all the Taluks. While we were struggling to find a way to widen our reach, the Education Department came to our rescue. With the combined effort, we were able to get the participation of 36 children and more than five teachers in the event. This year’s event mainly focused on catering to the needs and issues of adolescents and planning projects accordingly.
We had invited District Child Protection Officer Smt. Bharati Shatter, KSS MSW College HOD Mr. Ambrish Kapli as our chief guest, the District Child Welfare Committee (CWC) member Mr. Maniunath Bommanakatti to inaugurate the event and the Gadag Zilla Panchayath President, Mr. Vasanna Kuradagi attended it as our special guests. It was a great experience for our children to meet these personalities.
To see these children interact with Mr. Vasanna Kuradagi was a great joy. He answered questions raised by children with respect to issues faced by them in schools like lack of good toilets, poor quality of buildings, quality of education in rural schools and lack of teachers.
At the end of the discussion, he promised he will try to solve these issues as soon as possible. This was the part of the first session of the program.
In the second session, we created different groups of students. In each group, they were asked to discuss the problems and possible solutions to those problems.
The children then selected one person among themselves from each group to come and present their discussions.
After all the presenters were done, these children again voted for 2 students who would be chosen as the District Representatives who would get an opportunity to present these ideas and concerns at the VidhanaSuadha in Bangalore. The participation of the children was quite inspiring. This platform is definitely a good way to motivate these young leaders who want to bring about a change.
As an organizer, Mr. Raghu Patil, Transformation Lead, Mantra4Change shared that his personal highlight was to see the smooth organization of the event from getting the children to the venue to facilitating the sessions.All of this would be impossible to achieve without the help of the people who helped us get the venue and funds for the event.
The success of this event was marked by the kind of concerns and issues that the children voiced out. It was also heartening to see the children asking their questions directly to the concerned authorities. This reaffirmed our belief that children indeed have the power to change the world.
-Written by Mr. Raghu Patil, Transformation Lead, Mantra4Change