January , 2018


It Happens Here :>

RBC Nagole 01

M. Venkatarangaiya Foundation (MVF) was established in the year 1981, by  Ms. Shantha Sinha,  a Padma Shri; Ramon Magsaysay recipient. This NGO is internationally recognized and has played an important role in the eradication of child labour. “Every child has the right to go to schools and enjoy their childhood”, is the motto of this NGO. They are spread across 500 villages in Andhra Pradesh and many other states like Bihar, Assam, etc. More than 2 lakh children have been pulled out of this social evil through this organization. (Picture: The camp. Credit: Shailaja)

“Child labour is a very alarming issue. Andhra Pradesh has the highest number of child labour cases in the southern part of India. After having interned here for a month, we don’t know if poverty is causing child labour or if lack of education sense amongst literates like us, is causing it. But yeah, one thing is evident that this organization has worked really hard to get close. The percentage of child labour has decreased by nearly 31%. That’s better, not good”, says Shalini Shravanthi, who interned with MVF for a month. MVF is located in a serene place, away from the sound and pollution of the city. RBC (resource bridge course) camp is what actually makes this one stand out in comparison to all the other NGOs working for the same cause. These RBC camps are for boys and girls, who hail from a background of being pushed into child labour, which is of about 14 kinds. In the early stages of their lives, where they were deprived of their rights – the right to get the education and the right to freedom of speech. These unfortunate kids are granted all these rights here. They are so well trained here that they sometimes even outperform the people they have envied working. This place was a blessing.

Children of section "A"; Credit: Shailaja

Children of section "A"; Credit: Shailaja

Another branch, in Nagole, is only for Boys. Here the children of all ages, who are victims of this evil because of their respective families. Most of the people in this camp are getting ready to progress in their life. To prove that they are not deprived of anything, that they are glad they are not living a half life. They don’t stay here as a regular hostlers but they are provided with the basic education, but again not like the regular school students, who have the threat of corporal punishments and home works. They are given their part of freedom. There has been a considerable amount of increase in the number students every year. Providing the right sense of education most of it done in the local language -Telugu. They are enlightened about the importance that education holds in life for a reasonable earning some years down the line. Here, children are from the age group of 7-16years. They are segregated on the basis of:

1. Age

2. Ability to learn

3. Dexterity.

There are basically two sections: “A” and “B”.

“I love it here. I am not afraid now. I know that I will become an army official sometime in 10 years”, smiles Vijay Kumar from of Turkapalli, A.P.

Saileshwar sir and his students; Credit: Shailaja

Mr. Saileshwar and his students; Credit: Shailaja

They have their daily sessions of classes, then a bit of games, followed by a bit of entertainment. A child, who is a part of the camp is very reluctant to go back to his ‘work’. Again, struggles have tested them a lot but now they don’t fear. They’ve taken the Gandhi giri path of enlightening people from the rural areas; most of them illiterates. “I’ve been with them for 12 years now. I came here as a child labour too. I am from a rural area. My association with this organization has changed my view on life and later I became a teacher here. Many people say things, its easy. but practically you’ll have to get down to this level of the students to know what it is to be one.  We are ready to face the truth and we expect the same from the others”, says Saileshwar, the Nagole camp in-charge and the teacher.

The visit is a bitter-sweet experience. While one is glad that these children are streamlined with proper training, one cant help feeling sad for them. Thus, LIFE is what one is blessed with, forget the dark past for a bright future lies ahead and just make the right choice by joining hands in fighting this social evil. If one finds this social evil, child labour being practiced, one should not hesitate to call 1098 or MVF-27700290/27801320. Cheers to life!

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