“Why shouldn’t we a part of highlighting the challenges we go through as young students? This is exactly what the Sustainable Development Goals for any country decrees. Children are the future of any nation and taking our opinions into consideration will only help build this nation into a global superpower!”
These were the words of a student of class 8 – Anusha who studies in Government Higher Primary School, Chandapura, where Mantra has been working for the last one year. In the week we celebrated Children’s Day, Anusha was busy planning how she could help her country fulfill the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as laid out by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
“Child Rights and the Duties of Children as citizens of this country are not very different from each other. To be able to voice our opinions is merely a step toward fulfilling this,” said Mutturaj, a student of Government Higher Primary School, Maragondanahalli.
Empowering children from the nooks and corners of the state, the Karnataka Child Rights Observatory (KCRO), a wing of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) hosted a district level Children’s Parliament. The agenda was to provide our young voices to be heard on how the UN-chartered Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can impact the lives of adolescents and how they can contribute towards building a nation aligned to the 17 goals.
Who better to discuss about child rights than children? More so, when the issue at hand is charting a plan for sustainable development? Isn’t it high time that we start taking our children and their opinions for a better world seriously? This is what the Karnataka Child Rights Parliament wishes to explore. This time, their targets were Adolescents.
‘Adolescents’ isn’t just a topic that needs attention to understand teens and their challenges growing up. In a few years, these young adults would shape the way our country deals with issues on a global level.
Children’s Parliament – The Why?
In recent years even as the importance of Child Rights has grown tremendously, violations of it have only proved that it hasn’t seeped into the mindsets of lawmakers as a fundamental right that needs to be enforced with great emphasis. Taking a step towards this, the KCRO initiated Children’s Parliament to provide our young, bold speakers to raise their voices and present their take on issues surrounding nation building.
The ideas put together by these young changemakers are typically shared with representatives of various constituencies, most importantly with the Chief Minister of the state. The Parliament’s final round culminates in the finalists delivering their speeches at the iconic Vidhana Soudha.
Our children made the cut
Believing in this vision, Mantra4Change participated by bringing students of the clusters it works in, to the forefront. Anusha and Mutturaj from two Government Schools in Chandapura made the cut to the finals after a tough Block Level preliminary round held in Anekal.
Covered by media channels across the city and getting the much-needed exposure to 50 equally talented children across the state, Anusha and Mutturaj spent three days – November 18, 19, and 20, brainstorming and compiling 800 inputs to present to the Chief Minister on Adolescents and SDGs.
Every nation relies on its future leaders to chart its roadmap to development. To bring these unheard, unsung voices to the fore isn’t just imperative but a duty we must all fulfill. Mantra4Change is proud of its young changemakers who’re making the dream of a better India a reality!
Written by Channakeshava VP, Cluster Transformation Lead, Mantra4Change