“Education remains inaccessible to many child labourers and drop-outs''

They sang and danced, and asserted their rights in a world that decides things for them, urging the audience to take steps to empower their underprivileged counterparts elsewhere.

Children's Day 2010 celebrated in many parts of the city on Sunday saw children from various backgrounds coming together to celebrate the occasion, and make the most of it to spread awareness of their rights.

The Right to Education Act for every child gives many a promise to counter illiteracy, but with schools in rural areas facing shortage of teachers and proper infrastructure, education remains inaccessible to many child labourers and drop-outs. This was stressed by a group of children from various villages in the State who addressed mediapersons in a meeting organised by CRY (Child Rights and You).

Children from various rural places around Ramanathapuram, Dindigul, Krishnagiri, and Kancheepuram voiced several concerns that prevented them from accessing free and quality education.

Apart from lack of basic amenities such as drinking water and sanitation facilities in schools, the other issues that were raised and discussed were absence of ‘Anganwadis' and ‘Balwadis' in villages to address the formative educational needs of the children, schools located almost 10 kms away from the villages, non- availability of means of transport, poor teacher-student ratio, low quality of food served in schools and the medium of instruction.

‘Run for Children'

The importance of education to all was re-iterated by the ‘Kodak Eureka Run for Children', a marathon organised by the AID INDIA foundation, aimed to create awareness and raise funds to improve accessibility to quality education. The event was flagged off by actors R. Parthiban and Prasanna along with Srinath Rajam, group director, TVS. The run has initiated a campaign that would raise funds till December 31.

“The target is to raise at least Rs. 50 lakh from the campaign, and with an equal amount to be donated by patrons, we intend to adopt 250 villages in 11 districts,” said Balaji Sampath, founder, AID INDIA.

Many NGOs and educational institutions came together to organise cultural programmes for children on this occasion. Balavidyalaya, a school for children with hearing impairment organised a variety of programmes for its students and alumni as part Children's Day celebrations.

Interactive games

As many as 200 children participated in the event that included various interactive games involving eye-hand coordination and activities such as snowballing, drawing and colouring.

A visual presentation to promote awareness among the community on early intervention to aid children with the disability was also part of the event. “People need to know that early diagnosis of hearing impairment in children and providing them with hearing aids can help a lot,” said Saraswathi Narayanaswami, director, Balavidyalaya.

Talent exhibited

A celebration by GiveLife had young participants from districts including Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Chennai exhibiting their talent on stage. A dance programme that showcased various traditional folk dances of the State and a Thirukkural recitation were part of the programme that was inaugurated by Member of Parliament Kanimozhi.

In another event, as many as 270 children from three homes were gifted with a special screening of ‘Enthiran' organised by Sangam Cinemas and Bhumi, a non profit organisation working with under privileged children.