As election fever is setting in, NGOs have been going the extra mile to draw the attention of political parties and their candidates to the issues of women and children. While the Women’s Coalition for Change has been handing over their recently-released manifesto to various parties, children from various States have put together a children’s manifesto.

The children’s manifesto was the result of a year-long campaign initiated by World Vision India in partnership with 160 networks and NGOs. They are approaching various political parties and their candidates across the country to take up their cause, according to a press release.

The children have demanded special protection schemes, free compulsory, quality and inclusive education for children up to 18 years and a discrimination-free society. In health, they wanted proper medical treatment for children with disabilities, children living with HIV/AIDS, ambulance services in all grama panchayats, availability of doctors around the clock at hospitals and physiotherapy centres for children with disabilities in every panchayat.

They demanded steps to prevent child marriage, enrol children labourers into schools and rehabilitation of child beggars.

In the field of education, the children wanted every village to have a school, with provisions for a library, separate toilets, safe drinking water, computer education, a playground, transportation and ramps.

The Women’s Coalition for Change – comprising members of women’s organisations – will hold district-level meetings to assess candidates. “We will analyse if any candidate has been involved in any caste riot or has acted against the welfare of women in various sectors,” N. Bernard Fathima, coordinator of the coalition said.

This analysis will be taken to the public. “We will also look at the manifestos of political parties and see if they have focussed on gender justice,” she added.

In its own manifesto, the coalition has highlighted issues relating to women belonging to dalit, irula and narikurava communities, small-time traders, fisherfolk, sanitary workers, differently abled, commercial sex workers, agricultural labourers and transgenders.

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