Shanti Ashram takes initiative as part of ‘Standing up with a million Indian children’ campaign

How much importance is attached to a birth certificate? It enjoys a place of pride only as an annexure to some application. This is what volunteers of Shanti Ashram were able to understand when they verified whether students of 30 schools possessed a birth certificate, and a valid one at that.

As part of the ‘Standing up with a million Indian children’ campaign, the organisation, with the help of industrial, educational and religious partners, verified the birth certificates of nearly 30,000 school students here on Wednesday.

This is the first leg of the initiative, which will be held in eight legs, to cover all the schools in Coimbatore. The associating partners are Larsen & Toubro Limited, PSG Institutions, Yuvabharati School, Assisi Snehalaya and Perur Adheenam, besides others.

According to Kezevino Aram, Director of Shanti Ashram, the exercise was to make schools and students understand the importance of having a birth certificate and the benefits that it can guarantee.

“Many are ignorant about the importance of a valid birth certificate. Only when it comes to a college admission or availing of any benefit the need of a birth certificate is felt. We visited 30 schools in three weeks and made them understand the purpose of the initiative. Children were told to bring a photo copy of their birth certificates and volunteers verified the details on the certificate with the school records and the information got from the students themselves,” Ms. Aram said.

The volunteers were surprised to find that many students, even those in private schools, did not have a birth certificate. It was higher in Government schools. While some had, there were discrepancies in them with regard to the name and date of birth. One certificate did not even have the name of the student.

Most students in Government schools had not even applied for a birth certificate, either out of ignorance or lack of money.

As the volunteers verified the certificates against the school records, necessary changes and updates were made in pencil on the records for the school to incorporate the same.

Ms. Aram says that the next cycle of verification will be held after three weeks. In the intervening time the next set of schools will be oriented about the activity.

Also as a follow up to the first cycle, those found without certificates will be helped to get one and the progress card on this would be given to each school.

More In: Coimbatore