Thursday, December 17, 2009


To avail of any of the above copies, please get in touch with Child Rights Trust (CRT) on 080-41138285 or


Organised by: Karnataka Child Rights Observatory (KCRO) with the support of UNICEF

Date: 20th and 21st November, 2009
Venue: Hotel Bell and Hotel Atria

Twenty years ago the UN adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Within a short period country after country committed itself to uphold the rights of children. India also became a signatory to the CRC in the year 1992 and the Convention became an instrument of support to everyone - Government, legislators, NGOs, media, judiciary, etc., to advocate for the cause of children.
In the last two decades in spite of several shortcomings, various stake holders have taken positive measures towards the implementation of CRC.

Against this background, KCRO held a state level meet to commemorate the 20 years of CRC and to take a deeper look at the situation of children in Karnataka in the presence of representatives from all the major sectors – legislative, judiciary, administration, media, NGOs and the private sector.

November 20th began with an inaugural address by Ms. Nina Nayak, Chairperson of Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR). This was followed by presentations on Survival, Protection, Development and Participatory Rights of the child by Dr. Roopa Devadasan, Mr. Lakshapathi, Dr. Vasavi and Mr. Renni D’Souza respectively.

November 21st saw the release of the State of the World’s Children- Special Edition by Mr. Narendra Swamy, Minister for Department of Women and Child Development, along with Mr. Michel Saint-Lot, UNICEF State Representative for Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Dr. D.S. Ashwath, Secretary to Government of Karnataka, Women and Child Development and Ms. Nina. P.Nayak, Chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

This was followed by a panel discussion between Manohar Maski, Member of Legislative Council, Dr. D.S. Ashwath, Secretary, DWCD, Prof. Gandhi Doss, Retd Professor of Social work, BU, Dr. Kshithij Urs, Regional Director, Action Aid and Mr. Veeranna Thigadi, Member Secretary, Legal Aid Cell, Karnataka. The panel discussion was moderated by Ms. Suchitra Rao, Child Protection Unit-UNICEF.

The event saw the participation of 179 people from NGOs, Government, individuals and media.

Many recommendations and suggestions emerged from the diverse group on effectively working towards child rights and strengthening the partnerships between all stakeholders.
About Karnataka Child Rights Observatory: KCRO is a resource centre and an advocate for child rights with partners from across the state. In the recent past KCRO has conducted several independent studies with active participation of its member organizations about the situation of children in the state. The alliance has also worked with legislators, NGOs, media and the private sector to raise awareness about children. KCRO is supported by UNICEF for its various ventures.

For a detailed report on the event or to join the KCRO network, please contact us at 080-41138285 or email us on


Date : August 2009-10

CRT, in partnership with Bijapur and Shimoga Universities, is training post-graduate students from various departments on Child Rights.

4 consultations were to be held in an academic year in each university.

Bijapur University: 3 consultations have been completed in the university for students from women’s studies, Social work, sociology, kannada, economics and political science. About 500 students have been trained through these workshops which are held over two days.

One consultation remains to be completed.

Shimoga University: 1 consultation has been held with 3 more in the anvil. All four consultations are for the Social Work Department students.

Methodology: The workshops are designed to be interactive and participatory methods like games and activities are used extensively. The participants are encouraged to think and arrive at conclusions on their own with the aid of some theoretical inputs from us.
An assignment is also given at the end of day 1 on which the students themselves make a presentation on day 2.

CRT believes that sensitising students and youth is vital towards realizing child rights. Many of these students, especially from Social Work, end up working in the development sector. Hence, orienting them on the importance of child rights becomes paramount.

For the many students who may not make a career of child rights, their partnership as civil society members in ensuring rights reach all children is crucial. An apt example in this regard would be the effort on the part of the some of the students who tried preventing a child marriage post the workshop.

The youngsters’ enthusiasm and sensitivity through these workshops has been extremely heartening to see. Many students have considered doing their thesis/dissertation on a child rights related topic.

With the encouraging response from the students and the faculty at these universities, we hope to continue this initiative with many more college and university students.

Universities/colleges interested in conducting similar workshops can contact us at 080-41138285 or email us on . Contact Person: Mr. Vasudev Sharma or Mr. Nagasimha.G.Rao


BBMP Pre-election advocacy by Campaign against Child Labour (CACL)*

Date: 29th October, 2009

That the BBMP elections were announced and were subsequently postponed again and again is an issue everyone is well aware of. In the process, projects envisioned for the citizens’ welfare are being impacted negatively with no one to spearhead them. The effect of this is felt the most by children, who are amongst the voiceless citizens of the city. Making the city child-friendly requires that projects are well planned keeping the demands of children in mind.

Children’s population in Bangalore stands at 20 lakhs. While they may have no direct say in the election process, they have a direct influence on their parents who exercise their children’s right to express through their own votes.

On behalf of the member organisations of CACL-Bangalore chapter, a pre-election advocacy campaign was undertaken to urge the political parties and contesting candidates to recognize this and place the demands of these young citizens of Bangalore in their manifestos.

With a comprehensive list of demands in place, the CACL team (APD, SICHREM, Sathi, APSA, Paraspara, ILP, ILO, CDF, CRT, Anantha Seva Trust, CPU, MSW students, BRIDGE network, Gilgal Foundation, TRUST Network, Mythri Sarva Seva Samithi and volunteers) along with media persons, visited the party offices of Congress, Lok Satta, BSP and JD(S) on 29th October to hand over these demands. Due to political in-fighting in BJP, no party representative was available to receive them and we were advised to meet them on a later date.

All the parties pledged their support and assured that they would look into the demands.

With the BBMP elections now being announced to be held in January, the team will be following up with the parties to see if these demands have been included in their manifestos.

Along with including the demands, the expectation is that the emerging elected party follows through on them and is held accountable to the promises made.

*Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL): is a network of NGOs working for the development of children and upholding child rights across the country.

For a complete list of the demands made or a detailed report of the visit to the party offices, please contact Child Rights Trust (CACL Bangalore convener)
Ph: 080-41138285

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Appeal for Children's Special Needs in North Karnataka

CRT has become involved in the North Karnataka flood relief especially focusing on the special needs of children. Many individuals have been shocked by the enormity of the flood disaster and wanted to help. At the same time, there is, as always, a gnawing doubt if the aid one gives will in fact reach those who need it.

The Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights [KSCPCR] Chairperson and members toured the affected areas. Apart from identifying the most affected areas and the most crucial needs of the distressed families, they noted that the situation of childen was especially pathetic in terms of both health and nutrition as well as trauma. Even a month after the floods, the situation has not improved in these respectsm especially in the more remote areas. Some NGOS are involved in the relief work, both on their own and with government to help proper distribution of the aid, and to help monitor the same. Each district has a coordination committee that oversees the relief effort to avoid duplication on the one hand, and missing out some needy, on the other. The committee will also monitor the work of both the govt. and the NGO efforts.

We know from previous emergency experience in India and elsewhere, that apart from the need for food, clothes, shelter and medicine, there is a crying need to help children get over their trauma and towards normalcy, by counseling them and engaging them in play and studying. Even the special nutritional foods that are often given to them in such circumstances have no effect if they are not engaged in such activities. The materials needed include paper and pens/pencils, or slates and chalks, and simple play materials. So a major part of the funding we get will be used for these.

There are some among us with experience in trauma counseling, having been specially trained or having worked in the Tsunami aftermath a few years ago, who will train local NGOs and other volunteers in methods of overcoming PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder] for all affected persons with special attention to children.

We realize that some of you might have already donated for flood relief through either government or NGOs. Even so, we hope you will respond quickly and generously to help meet the special needs of children in this time of dire need. These needs are typically overlooked in relief programmes, but are crucial for children to return to normalcy. Child Rights Trust, Bangalore [CRT] has learnt that some Bangalore-based NGOs have decided that each staff member will donate one day's salary. In some institutions, it is a month’s salary [deductible over a longer period, while the institution pays the total immediately]. Such decisions are welcome initiatives and something one might think of replicating.

CRT will be able to receive and forward whatever donations you give and will give you a receipt for the same. We will also provide a consolidated report with photographs to all our donors. Your donations will be eligible for tax deduction under the IT 80G clause.

Donations can be sent to Child Rights Trust, 4606, High Point IV, Palace Road, Bangalore 560001, either by cheque, demand draft or cash. Please provide your name and full address to enable us to give you the receipt, and indicate clearly in a cover letter or on the back of the cheque that the donation is meant for N. Karnataka Flood Relief.

Monday, October 19, 2009


CRT’s publications and other advocacy/training materials continue to be in demand. So far we were not able to make any major effort to translate the Kannada materials into English and some Indian languages, due to lack of funds. Thanks to a new funding by FCW at the end of last year, we have been able to launch this project.

The FCW funding is composed of donations that were specifically given for CRT's work through FCW during the AKKA [Association of Kannada Kootas in America] conference in 2008 plus additional funds from FCW's own general funds. This project is for two years for a sum total of $6,000.

LEGISLATORS' FORUM- a Major Initiative

In 2007, state legislators who were honored by CRT as Child Friendly Legislators of Karnataka, came forward to form a Forum of Legislators for Children. A meeting to brief this forum was also held shortly after. However, it was only in 2009 that the next two meetings took place in quick succesion, under the aegis of the Karnataka Child Rights Observatory [KCRO], a consortium of NGOs, of which CRT is the secretariat.

At the first of these two meetings, the legislators present expressed their various concerns regarding the situation of the children of the state. These included child marriage, child labour, education for
children, migration, girl child education, school conditions, the health sector, welfare schemes announced by the Government and the role of NGOs in implementation and monitoring of the

The legislators further made the following points:
  • In the interest of children, there should be measures to plug failures and loopholes that exist in some of the programmes.
  • Instead of initiating new schemes, policies and so on, the Forum needs to look out to reinforce the existing ones.
  • Support is expected from NGOs for data and factual details, as also recommendations to take action to uphold rights of the children.
  • Mere law may not help every child to come to school - concerted efforts should be done to develop at the grassroots level with poverty alleviation and economic development.
  • The Forum can strengthen local governance so that the problems can be subsequently tackled.
  • The Forum should be motivating NGOs to take children’s issues to the Gram Panchayats and prepare them to tackle children’s issues at that level with the support of the Government.
Other suggestions from participants:
  • Bring in children from various parts of the state for a face-to-face discussion with legislators to highlight their priorities and demands.
  • Link women’s issues and other poverty alleviation programmes with child development.
  • Make the child an agenda point of the local governments in their monthly meetings.
  • Commit the government to take on the SPAC review at the earliest and start planning for the next decade by 2010. Form the review team with legislators, bureaucrats, NGOs and children to look at the effectiveness of SPAC [State Plan of Action for Children, 2003-2007].
  • The UN head can be invited to address legislators on children’s issues particularly
  • keeping the MDG – Millennium Development Goals with respect to Karnataka.
Decisions and Action Point:

1. Periodical meetings need to be held to understand the status of children of Karnataka. KCRO and NGOs to help the legislators to get a clear picture.
2. The Forum members should strive to urge the Chairmen of both the Houses to devote one special day during the sessions to discuss child-related issues exclusively when it should be mandatory for the officers of the concerned departments to present and give reports on the status and progress of children in the state.
3. The UN head to be invited for a presentation on status of children on a Friday
afternoon during sessions.
4. The Forum will take responsibility of writing letters to concerned departments for
status and progress with respect to children.
5. The Forum to press upon the Grama Panchayats to take affirmative action to uphold
rights of the children and the reports from these GPs to be called from various
6. The Forum members would raise questions and calling attention notices in both the Houses on
the status report on the Karnataka SPAC 2003- 2010.
7. The next meeting will be held on the Friday, 17th July 09 to pipeline the activities of
the forum.

On the 17th July, after discussion, the Forum came up with the following action points:
  • Develop an action plan on child labour and health in one constituency as a pilot programme                                                                                                                                           - Mr. Narendra Babu's constituency, Mahalakshmi Layout. NGOs to help, after discussion.
  • A pilot study on Child Labour and Health status to to be done by KCRO for facilitate further action from Forum.
  • Share the status of children in Karnataka prepared by KCRO with all the concerned legislators and call for the status report from concerned districts.
  • Review the situation of children in every district against the status of children with the various departments in the Karnataka Development Programme.
  • A special day will be dedicated in both the Houses to discuss about children in the current session.
  • Enforcement review and CRC report for the state.
  • Launch the Forum's Taskforce on 14th Nov 09- On Children’s day. The Forum will ensure the betterment of the Karnataka State children.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Volunteer with CRT: Opportunities and What to expect

Volunteers and the spirit they bring makes a huge difference to NGOs everywhere. NGOs, normally working on tight budgets and small teams, looks towards volunteers to bring in enthusiasm, skill, creativity, and diversity.

CRT, over the years, have had volunteers/interns from many walks of life and countries (Sweden, Brazil, Germany, Canada, Australia, Scotland, Poland, China, and Malaysia). We also have a steady stream of social work students doing their block placement with CRT.

CRT believes that volunteers' time here should be a pleasant and beneficial experience to both. The experience should help the growth of the volunteer as well as the organisation.

Some of the opportunities always available (but not limited to) are:
  1. Volunteering with Child-in-News analysis: CRT analyses children's issues covered in various newspapers and this is circulated to a mailing list of people from the government, NGOs, legislators, media, and those interested in children's issues. A blog also needs to be updated on this periodically. ( Volunteers can assist with updating this blog (can be done from home/office). We are also open to partnering with universities or students to be involved in this initiative.
  2. Report/Proposal writing (in English): This is a wonderful opportunity for those fluent in English, to put your skills to immense use. The proposals could be study proposals to government departments/donors/commission. Reports could be on workshops, issues related to children, seminars, government policy consultations etc. The process can also be beneficial from a knowledge point of view and understanding the reality of children's issues. Again, this can be done from the comfort of your homes/office.
  3. Arranging for training programs (Kannada and English) on Child Rights at your school/college/community/apartment/office. There is an urgent need for every single person to be sensitized to children's needs and issues and you can help us reach more people.
  4. Updating CRT blog: Help us communicate the work happening in CRT by assisting to update our blog.
  5. CRT website: If you are technologically savvy, you can help us with designing, content writing and building our own website.
  6. Contact us if you see any violation of child rights anywhere.
  7. Anything else: Feel free to look through our blog and activities and contact us if you are interested to be involved in anything.
What to expect: We are a small team of 13 members working on various projects and initiatives. Many of us are also constantly travelling on training assignments. While everyone is more than willing to guide and provide inputs, the volunteer/intern needs to be able to work independently.
We would also like to clarify that CRT does NOT work directly with children. Our work is mainly research, training and advocacy on child rights.

For any further queries/doubts, please do not hesitate to contact us. You are also welcome to drop by at our office anytime!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Consultation on children of construction workers

Children of construction workers have to get a fair chance to develop.

Workers within the unorganized sector constitute over 92 percent of the total workforce in India, or about 370 million in number. These workers are paid poorly and have to cope on their own when there is any interruption in their working income due to recession, non-availability of work, sickness, accident or death.

In Karnataka, the number of unorganized workers increased from 9.7 million in 1981 to 13 million in 1991, and to 17.3 million in 2001. Most of these labourers were migrants moving from one state to another and from rural areas to cities. The state government has been taking some initiatives to provide these workers with social security. However, much remains to be done in the direction of designing a comprehensive social security package for all unorganized workers. The existing provisions are not enforced either, leading to immense suffering for the workers and their families.

The situation of the children of migrant labourers is especially pathetic. These children do not get the services they require – health, education, protection, etc., from the existing systems, as the rights of children demand.

KCRO [Karnataka Child Rights Observatory] along with various other organisations and networks in Karnataka including Bridge Network, Samtha Sainika Dala, Karnataka Construction Workers Welfare Action Group, Construction and other Building Workers Welfare Board, Forum of NGOs working with Street and Working Children, Campaign against Child Labour, Bangalore Unit, etc. began trying to find solutions to ensure the rights of the children of construction workers. To this end, an one-day consultation was organised with the involvement of other NGOs and government departments also at Bangalore on 16th Dec. 2008 with the following objectives:

i.To enhance social security for construction workers.
ii.To develop a comprehensive programme of education, protection and development for the children of construction workers.
iii.To establish delivery structures for utlising the resources available for migrant workers and their families efficiently and effectively.

The day-long consultation deliberated on various issues pertaining to construction workers and their children and came out with a list of recommendations. The consultation was attended by representatives of Government (Education, Women and Child Development Department, Labour Department), NGOs, UNICEF, labour unions, construction workers and the media. Freedom fighter Shri Doreswamy gave the keynote address; senior government officials and NGOs also addressed the meet. These speakers made several valuable suggestions.

Many groups working with construction labourers and their children shared their experiences on various problems faced by these children and their families. A documentary film on the situation was presented by Association for Promoting Social Action (APSA), which also mounted a photography exhibition on the issue. A few construction workers shared their first hand experiences and views.

Participants were then divided into groups to discuss problems related to health, protection and development of the children of construction workers and to list their conclusions. These were then ratified in the plenary and recommended for further follow-up by Government.


1. Basic Amenities:
There should be a policy for improving basic amenities like toilets, drinking water, housing, ration card, voter ID cards .
The procedure of giving identity cards to the construction workers should be more simplified, easily accessible and rapid.
NREGS (National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) should ensure strengthening of rural employment program and stipulate better wages for the rural people [to deter migration].
The Board Of Construction Workers Act should be suitabily amended so as to extend the benefit of health coverage not only to beneficiaries but also to their families.

2. Health:
Awareness on pre -and post natal care should be provided by the Health dept.
ANMs/ Health Visitors should visit the place where construction workers live.
Like ASHA (Accrediated Social Health Activist) in the National Rural health Mission, even USHA (Urban Social Health Activist) should be introduced very shortly.
Health services like clinics, mobile health vans, etc. should be made available near dwelling places of construction workers.
Awareness on immunization should be provided.

3. Anganawadis:
1.Anganawadis should have balsevika teachers and trained helpers; the timings of anganawadis should be extended till 4pm.

4. Education:
Govt. schools should be located in migrant colonies/clusters.
There should be equal treatment of migrant and other children in schools.
Two percent of their income should be set aside by builders for the education of the workers' children.

5. Protection:
Shelter with elementary facilities should be provided for construction labourers.
Strict protection policy should be formulated to combat girl child abuse.