Thursday, August 12, 2010

A library by the kids, for the kids

A child rights club initiated by CRT's associate director, Nagasimha.G.Rao, in 2006 has many success stories to share, the latest being a children's library run by it on their own.

This child rights club is in a village of 500 people called Chagaletti (fondly referred to by many as 'Chocolatey') that is 8 kms from the Bangalore International Airport.

The village has 90 children and the club has 30 children (20 girls and 10 boys) between the ages of 5-18 years.

The child rights club was started with the intention of spreading awareness on child rights and promoting child participation.

The most heartening facet of this has been the enthusiasm of the children and support from adults in the village. The children have taken up many activities and initiatives over the past three years to promote child rights like bringing drop-outs back to school, polio awareness drives, H1N1 awareness drives, mobilising funds for children affected by North Karnataka floods immediately after the disaster hit, monthly meetings etc.

With no library within 15 kms of the village, there was a great need for one to be set up. With the help of the Hippocampus Reading Foundation and Child Rights Trust, a library has been set up on 14th August, 2010.

The link to the article in Deccan Chronicle covering this can be accessed here.

Our hope is for this initiative to reach all children in rural Karnataka and that they all have access to the joy of reading and learning.

You are free to drop by at the Chagaletti library anytime. Do get in touch with us if you would like to support this venture or get more details.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Campaign against Child Labour-K (CACL-K)*organised a protest on August 2 against a controversial circular brought out by a Bangalore high school about provisions in the Right to Education Act

The circular, pointing towards their discriminatory attitudes, states that admitting poor children (as part of the mandatory 25 % reservation in the Act) will be "detrimental to the psyche of all the children". The circular goes on to potray underpriviliged children in a distasteful manner by implying that they could beat up other children and misbehave with girls and the school will have to watch helplessly.

The circular reads:

Kindly do not ignore this circular as it affects your child's future directly

Any child will have to be allowed into school and share the classroom with your child. Eminent psychologists have said that this will be detrimental to the psyche of all the children.

Once this Act is enforced, another child could beat up your child, smoke on the campus, misbehave with a girl or a teacher and the school will have to watch helplessly.

The school has since apologised for bringing out the circular. But what is unfortunate is that this alarmist and discriminatory attitude extends to many private schools and is not confined only to this school.

CACL-K, in the light of these negative attitudes being displayed by many private schools, held a protest on M.G. Road, strongly condemning such institutes and individuals.

Children protesting on MG Road
While the Right to Education Act is far from being perfect and there are many gaps to be filled, it is sad that a move looking towards allowing every child a chance to education, irrespective of background and status, should meet with resistance.

*CRT is the Convenor of the Bangalore chapter of CACL-K.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Intern Speaks: Alexandra Schlossarek from Germany

I started my three-month internship with CRT in 2005 and it was the most interesting experience in my life. I had already known about some of the child issues from university, but working in an environment with so many like-minded people really changed my perspective.

Alexandra in a saree with the CRT team

During my internship I went to different workshops and took trips to the country side which was a great experience. I also participated in a South Indian meeting of different NGOs working with child rights which helped me understand the pressing issues for children's rights not only in Bangalore but for the whole of India.

I think that CRT is making a great effort to spread awareness for child rights and standing up for every child not only in India but in the whole world.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Workshop on Anti Child Trafficking

A workshop was conducted by the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) for CDPOs, Anganwadi supervisors, Anganwadi workers and NGO workers on anti-child trafficking. CRT staff were the resource persons for the workshop held on July 22, 2010 at Chikkaballapur.

Content of the workshop: Introduction to child rights, Status of children, Trafficking-meaning, causes and effects, Child trafficking, and the roles of the participants and various government departments in addressing the issue.
Changes that can be addressed at the grassroots' level was also discussed.

No. of participants: 30

Feedback/Impact: The participants appreciated the clarity on the concept and the introduction to child rights providing a comprehensive overview of the issue. They vowed to bring increased focus to the issue that they felt had been neglected by them previously.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Calendar violates Juvenile Justice Act

Child Rights activists, NGOs and networks have strongly disapproved the content in a calendar brought out by the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD).

The calendar has made use of phrases like
'aparadhi' (criminal), 'vaishyavatike' (prostitutes) and displayed pictures of children affected with HIV and those in conflict with the law.

According to the Juvenile Justice Act (Article 21), words like '
criminals' should not be used for children. Instead, 'children in conflict with the law' is the appropriate phrase. As per the Act, pictures of children in conflict with law should not be used. 'Commercial sex workers' is the appropriate phrase and not 'prostitutes'. Sensitive issues require sensitive usage of language and words and it is unfortunate that NGOs or experts were not consulted before bringing out such material.

CACL-K, a network of NGOs working for children, wrote a letter to the Department strongly deploring the glaring mistakes and demanded that the calendar with a 10,000 strong circulation be stopped immediately and the mistakes rectified. 

The department has since apologised and agreed to remedy the mistakes.  

Newspaper coverage of the issue can be accessed here.
SICHREM, advocacy unit of CACL-K, has written about this issue on their blog which can be accessed

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Date: 4th July 2010 

Venue: AWTI, Byrathi Bande, Bangalore

Organized by: CCDC

Sessions/Agenda: Ice Breaker game, CRC presentation including history, issue-wise group discussion, child protection methods (1098, CWC, KSCPCR, CRT) including CR clubs and  Child Rights Special Grama Sabha.

Resource Person: Ms. Nagamani C.N.


A child rights workshop was conducted on Sunday, 4th July 2010 at Byrathi Bande, Bangalore for girl children. Around 82 children from classes 8 to 10 participated in the workshop.

This was the first child rights workshop for the participants. Hence, we covered the entire spectrum of child rights starting from its history.

Our aim was to ensure that most of the workshop was activity based to keep the children engaged. The children responded very well and the interaction levels were very encouraging.

The children were divided into 8 groups with each group having to present on one issue like Child Trafficking, Child Labour, Child Marriage, Discrimination, Child Begging, Corporal Punishment, Children and Government and Policy and Children.

Children were very creative in their presentations and many expressed their views on the topic through skits/plays. They touched upon the impact of these issues, relevant policies and also provided solutions.

The children appreciated the inputs provided on child rights. The girls especially liked the discussion on gender-based discrimination and found it enlightening.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Intern Speaks

I began working in Child Rights Trust (CRT) on 13th April 2010. The experience from then has been very impactful. I say impactful because at every stage there was something new to learn and realize about the society in which we live. We as students tend to believe what the media depicts or wishes to tell us, but we realize the harsh realities our country faces only when we work with organizations dealing with such issues. Child rights trust has been one such organization which has given me many opportunities to understand the issues faced by our society. 

Adhunika participating in a campaign against child labour on ''Anti-child labour day"

I am extremely grateful to the CRT team for letting me be a part of their organization for this short period and teaching me so much about children and child rights with so much of interest and allowing me to visit so many places and meetings even though I was just a 1st year student.

Prior to this internship, I honestly did not know much about child rights, and that the situation was this bad, or that organizations like CRT were doing such good work to benefit children both directly and indirectly (through conducting awareness campaigns, seminars and training sessions for teachers, Gram Panchayats etc.).

I would also like to make a special mention to the staff of CRT who translated everything from Kannada to English just because I had difficulty in understanding it and also for making me feel as though I was a part of the organization from a long time.

I am sure that the knowledge and the experience that I have gained here will always be with me and the memories I am taking with me from here would always be cherished.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sunfeast Run and CRT-2010

CRT participated for the first time in the Sunfeast Run on May 23, 2010 and the experience was exhilarating to say the least.

Some of the runners before the start of the Sunfeast run (From L to R: Ms. Lakshmi, Dr. Padmini, Mr. Vasudeva Sharma, Mr. Vasanth from SICHREM, Mr. Nagasimha. G. Rao, Ms. Rashmi, Ms. Nina Nayak, Mr Srinivas from SICHREM)

While we were amongst the smaller groups running (20 of us), the enthusiasm levels were extremely high. 2 CRT members ran the 10K while the rest participated in the 5.7K.

CRT team members at the starting line

CRT was running to raise money for a program to help children affected by the North Karnataka Floods that hit in late 2009. Details on this can be found here.

The fundraising attempts before the run in itself proved to be quite a novel experience. From going office to office in our building (it is amazing how people work in the same building and never know who works next door) to a student mobilising money for us at a US university campus to a man at a photocopy center instantly donating Rs. 50 listening to our story.. the responses and reactions were truly heartwarming.

Mr. Nagaraj of CRT was quite the showstopper with his enthusiasm and endearing personality. Even the cop joined us in some of the fun!

The preparations for the actual run/walk in the process were sidelined with conversations leading up to the day being about whether we will survive the run/walk and if the weather gods will be on our side (Both of which went our way finally!).

The only time they attempted to run was when the camera was on them:)

The energy and excitement at the event drew us all in and seeing the innovative ways in which various social messages were shared using the platform gave all of us ideas for the next time.

CRT team members towards the end of the walk ( looking more tired than they would like to admit!)

We finally raised Rs. 35,000 through this run. While the amount hardly matches the lakhs that many other NGOs raise through the event and the team running was small, it gave us a glimpse into the possibilities this event holds. Everyone was brimming with ideas about how to organise ourselves better next time and all that we can do differently.

Mr. Nagasimha. G. Rao, Associate Director, CRT embracing the spirit of the run

So the day ended with a lot of fun, meeting many of our NGO colleagues along the way, a sense of satisfaction at having done our bits for a cause we work for everyday and a resolve to leave a bigger mark the next time around.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Date: 26 April, 2010

Venue: Jain College, Bangalore

A strategy meeting to discuss revisions required to the National Policy for Children was held in Bangalore. 44 participants were present at the meeting. The participants invited to the meeting were mostly those familiar with the policy and its history with a vision for how the policy needs to be revised or taken forward.

The meeting started with clarifying the distinctions between policies, charter, plan of action etc and stating the objectives of the meeting against the background of previous discussions held at the national level.

The policy was then looked through by the participants, line by line, and corresponding suggestions were recorded. The rich experience of the participants provided many insights and dimensions to the changes needed in the policy.

The necessity for a complete section on participation, which is absent in the policy in its current form, was decided upon by all present at the meeting. The need to ensure that participation of children in this process of policy revision was also stressed upon. The suggestions were made keeping in mind existing laws, acts, policies and international treaties that could be viewed in conjunction to this policy (E.g.: Juvenile Justice Act, Millennium Development Goals etc).

With a limited amount of time to reach consensus, wherever discussions could not be speedily resolved, the responsibility to provide a write-up on the section was taken up by a participant.

The meeting ended with chalking out plans for follow-up meetings and some participants deciding to hold smaller thematic meetings at various places. To ensure representation from districts within the state, a state consultation was decided to be held tentatively around the 3rd week of May.

The draft from the strategic meeting with inputs received from thematic discussions will form the basis for the state-wide consultation. It was decided that an appropriate format, keeping in mind the audience for this state consultation, needs to be developed to ensure effective outcomes.

The highly motivated, articulate and experienced group made for lively discussions throughout the meeting and set the tone for further input sessions/meetings planned.

Please contact us for the detailed report highlighting all suggestions/changes that emerged from the meeting

Monday, April 19, 2010


Dr. Shridi Prasad Tekoor with the participants in a small community hall on 'World Health Day'

A program was organized on the occasion of World Health day in Srirampuram on 7th April, 2010 between 2.00 pm to 5 .00 pm. The session was facilitated by Dr.Shridi Prasad Tekoor, a renowned paediatrist.

Participants: Children, SHG members, NGO representatives and the team of Radio Active and CRT.

Aim of the seminar: To discuss several health issues related to children in the community. The facilitator focused on issues such as intake of food by children, malnutrition, balanced diet, and the various factors that lead to good health of children such as the cleanliness in their respective houses, schools, community and the city.

The session was concluded by focusing on the importance of immunization, parenting skills, breast feeding and hygiene that has to be maintained in order to keep the family healthy.

Organizers: This was jointly organized and sponsored by Radio Active 90.4 F.M and Child Rights Trust. Observance of World Health Day was the first of a series of ten seminars to be organized by Radio Active and CRT.

Future Plans: Our future plan for the upcoming month is to organize the observance of Mother’s Day and Family day in which we have planned to focus on Parenting Skills and Child Rights sessions. 


Kalpaneinda Saadyateyedege” in collaboration with Vidyaranya Kannada Kooata,  Mobility India and CRT was held at Chamarajnagara, Mysore District.
The workshop was held on 18th and 19th of March at Krushi Samshodhana Kendra, Chamarajnagara. 

Participants at the workshop

Objective: The workshop was designed and conducted for two days with the objective of spreading awareness on child rights related issues to the people of the community.

Participants: Twenty-six participants from various sections of the society (NGO, Anganwadi, Community Teachers and Tutors, Media representatives etc).

Participants playing a game (disable-friendly) to be implemented in their community
Language: Kannada.

Facilitators: Mr. Nagasimha.G.Rao and Ms. Rashmi GM from Child Rights Trust.

The programme was inaugurated by Ms.Radha, Deputy Director of Department of Women and Child Development. The workshop dealt with the situation of children in India, analysis through statistical representations, the rights of children, vulnerable children in the society and the various laws in place for protecting the rights of children.

The positive response from the participants provided an impetus to take these workshops ahead. The participants found the workshop to be unique and appreciated the methodology and modules. The participants promised to take forward the issues that they have learned in the workshop and translate it to practice in their day-to-day life.

A group presentation on situation of children

They also suggested that these workshops be conducted to all sections of society with a special focus on rural youth.

Future plans: Follow-up for this workshop will be held on 27 and 28 April 2010.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


April 8th was the day when CRT migrated...... to Free and Open Source Software!

As an NGO, with budget constraints, migrating to open source has been on the agenda for a long time.

We would like to thank the folks at IT for Change for helping with this transition and allaying our fears patiently (the biggest being Kannada font and printing).

As a first phase we have both Ubuntu and Microsoft platforms, in case of any initial hitches. We hope to make the transition completely in due course of time. The only exception being our accountant's computer since a Tally equivalent is apparently not fully developed yet.

CRT team has taken to it quite enthusiastically with many now wanting to install this on their home PCs.

It is indeed refreshing to be able to pass around the CD with the Ubuntu software installation with no worries of breach of license!


CRT team members visited a few projects run by Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement in H.D.Kote, Mysore District, Karnataka on March 29th and 30th.

CRT team at H.D. Kote

As an organisation mainly involved in advocacy, research, training and lobbying activities; exposure field visits of this kind helps to infuse enthusiasm and energy in our work.

SVYM works mainly towards the upliftment of the tribal communities in that area and it was a very informative visit to learn about the different tribal groups and the work being done by SVYM.

Tribal school being run by SVYM

We had a chance to visit their multi-speciality hospital, tribal school, 100% sanitation village, health center and a tribal community (haadi). On the way back to Bangalore, we also visited V-Lead (Vivekananda Institute of Leadership Development) in Mysore.

Each classroom's name in the tribal school has a local flavour to it

It was also a great opportunity to spend time together as a team, a rarity in the CRT world!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Psychological First Aid for Children affected by North Karnataka Floods

The devastating flood that hit North Karnataka in October 2009 exposed yet again how unprepared society is to tackle calamities/disasters of this scale. After the first few days of numbed disbelief, relief in terms of money, clothes, food etc poured in from many individuals and organizations towards rehabilitation of those affected by the floods. 

But help for the psychological trauma felt as a result of the devastation has gone unaddressed. This issue is of special concern in relation to children whose needs and fears take a backseat whilst families are busy trying to get their lives back to normalcy.

Sadly, while these floods are now long forgotten by most, those affected by the floods still continue to struggle to cope with the effects of the disaster. With the struggles of children, as always, being the least addressed. 

Mr. Nagasimha G Rao, Associate Director-CRT, who had surveyed the flood affected areas with the specific aim of engaging children and bringing them back to normalcy, observed that most children were still finding it difficult to come to terms with the disaster and its effects on their homes and lives. Many children said that they still had nightmares about it. Most children confided that they had no one to talk to about their feelings or fears since their parents were themselves struggling to move forward.

On November 16, 2009, an one day orientation programme was organized on psychosocial support, in which a number of NGOs reported on the psychological trauma experienced by the population in general and children in particular (sleeplessness, fear of being alone, nightmares, lack of interest in studies, irritability, clinging attitude etc). 

During the last one decade, systematic efforts by agencies like the WHO-SEARO, National Institute of Mental health and Neurosciences, Bangalore(NIMHANS) and American Red Cross, India have resulted in the development of practical models of providing ‘psychological first aid’ to children. The chief focus of these interventions are to use the existing infrastructure like the schools, anganwadis, relief camps to provide children an opportunity to (i) ventilate their feelings; (ii) face their personal feeling; and (iii) enhance self-esteem.

Against this background, Child Rights Trust, in association with an expert in this field, developed a plan to conduct training in 4 phases on ‘Psychological First Aid’ for children through NGOs, schoolteachers and anganwadi workers from the 12 affected districts. 

Resource Persons: Dr. R. Srinivas Murthy (who has worked extensively on developing psychosocial interventions for survivors of disasters nationally and internationally) and Mr. Nagasimha.G.Rao (trained counsellor and child rights activist), supported by Mr. Girish (worked extensively in the field of children’s issues using theatre, drama and extra curricular activities as tools) 

Methodology of the Interventions

The specific interventions at the level of classes in schools, the Anganwadi centres and groups of children in relief camps, are to provide a safe, supportive and activity oriented environment for children to understand the experience of the floods that they have had and to develop measures to master the experiences through (i) ventilation of their feelings; (ii) facing their personal feelings; and (iii) enhancing of self-esteem. The practical session are about 3 hours duration and the chief methods will be play activities.

The entire programme will be conducted at four levels:

1. Training of trainers workshop of 4 days;

2. Training of teachers and/or NGOs of 2 days

3. Classroom/angawadi/relief camp level practical session of 3 hours;

4. Follow up evaluation to document and plan for future interventions.

The first phase has been initiated and one workshop completed in January. It was received very well by the trainers from the flood affected districts who attended the workshop. A detailed report on Phase I of the program is available for more information.

CRT is now trying to mobilise funds for the remaining phases which is proving to be a difficult task with the issue not in focus anymore. It is not apparent to most people who are not in direct contact with the affected children that their trauma continues, and if it is not alleviated, will damage their potential and their very personalities. Another important point is that with North Karnataka being susceptible to disasters of one type or another, this project will help prepare the teachers, NGOs and Anganwadi workers to help children face any that might occur in the future and thus avert fresh trauma.

Please contact us if you are interested in donating towards the project or would like the detailed proposal for the project

Friday, April 2, 2010


CRT facilitated a workshop on child participation and child-led projects on 6th & 7th March at the CEO centre, Kottanoor, Bangalore.

The workshop was organized by Child Fund India to train their partners implementing child-led projects on child participation in the spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Child-led projects have immense potential to bring about change and empower children. Hence, building the capacity of those involved in these projects and ensuring they have a clear understanding of child participation is extremely important for the realization of child rights.

The workshop, designed to be interactive and participatory through group discussions, activities and games, was attended by twenty-five participants from various districts in Karnataka.

The participants found the workshop to be helpful, especially since they are involved in child-led projects.

Many participants shared that they had thought participation to mean children dancing or singing and the children were never involved in decision making. They appreciated the clarity they got through the workshop on effective child participation and its impact and were extremely enthusiastic to incorporate what they learnt in their projects.

For the detailed report on the workshop, please contact CRT


CACL-Karnataka has undertaken a study on UNCRC implementation in all the 14 districts of North Karnataka with the support of UNICEF. With the North Karnataka districts being the most backward in the state, the aim of the study is to understand and analyse the situation of children and the reach of implementation of various government schemes, and their effectiveness in these districts.

1. Developing questionnaires and methodology for collection of data.

2. Partner NGOs to collect the data using the questionnaires.

3. Compilation, analysis and report of the data.

4. Consultation on the findings.

CRT is responsible, along with CDF, for developing and finalizing an individual questionnaire, village level questionnaire and guidelines for 3 focus group discussions with women’s group, children, and village leaders to get opinions on the situation of children in their village from varied perspectives.

CRT has pre-tested the above methodology in ChikkaSonne village, 40 kms from Bangalore. The questionnaires were finalized incorporating observations/difficulties encountered during this pre-test.

During the first week of March, CRT members traveled to Belgaum and explained the questionnaires and methodology to all partner NGOs to collect data effectively.

Once data has been collected and analysed, CRT in partnership with CDF will be putting together the report on the study.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


An orientation on parenting was organised by CRT in association with Karnataka Parenting Network (KPN) at Ashirwad on January 27, 2010.

The orientation threw light on the concept of parenting in a broader context involving relationships beyond the dynamic of parents-children. We all have parenting roles as daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, in-laws, friends, boss, colleagues etc. With all of us in a parenting role every day of our lives, it becomes especially important to equip ourselves with the correct parenting tools and principles.

Ms. Hema Srinivas, the resource person for the orientation, gave details on the needs of children from 0-6 years and the corresponding skills required for effective parenting at each stage. This was done through an interactive session with the participants and the aid of a developmental calendar that related a child’s developmental needs at different ages to the actions and nurturing a ‘parent’had to give.

22 participants attended the workshop that consisted of NGO workers, child rights activists, trainers and social workers.

Many participants admitted to not knowing, before the orientation, the concept of parenting that extends beyond the traditional set-up and were appreciative of it. Some parents in the audience honestly acknowledged that the workshop helped them identify the mistakes they had made in their parenting approach previously and how they could set out to correct them now.

Karnataka Parenting Network is a network of individuals and groups who are interested in parenting skills and promoting these skills through training and advocacy.

Anyone interested in joining this network can access the following google group: