TAMIL NADU

Right messengers for child rights

P.S. Suresh Kumar

Nagercoil: It was an exhilarating experience for more than 800 children from the tsunami-affected coastal villages of the district, who participated in a function organised by Human Education and Action for Liberation (HEAL) Movement, a non-governmental organisation on the occasion of Child Rights Day at Annai Nagar near here recently.

Unlike in other functions where children are forced to listen to boring speeches of elders, here they themselves organised the proceedings and their excellent performance held the audience spellbound.

About 200 children from Pallam-Annai Nagar and 600 from 25 seashell-worker villages in the district participated in the function. A child, Keerthana, from a temporary shelter in Annai Nagar hoisted the national flag with United Nation's logo to emphasise the child rights component signed by the Central Government at the United Nation's Child Rights Convention.

Later, the children displayed their creations at the exhibition hall. The paintings on child rights highlighted their latent talents, and received appreciation and encouragement from delegates and social reformers who participated. There were cultural programmes too — with an underlying message of 'child rights.'

All the children (wards of seashell workers) were treated as guests by the 324 families of Annai Nagar, who provided meals to them. The organiser of the programme Y. Siluvai Vasthian told The Hindu that HEAL has formed 22 child-care centres and a pre-school.