Monthly Archives: March 2017

Feedback from the Villagers on our Campaign | Child Rights Organization | NGO

Daring to be ourselves- Girls of Madhubani

Our Last Day at Madhubani | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

In and around Madhubani

Thank you team Madhubani!

Numbers don’t always do the talking

Stories from the field - Childrens Groups and the Battle of Ballot Box | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

Childrens Groups and the Battle of Ballot Box

Journey to office

Stories from the Field – Khel Kabaddi | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

“Kabaddi-kabaddi- kabaddi!”

What We Discovered in Madhubani? | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

A Childhood left behind – Children of Madhubani

Stories from the Field Madhubani - Boy’s Group Meeting | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

Field Diary entry 7

Meet Our Team Member – Pramod, In-charge of Bisfi block | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

Field Diary entry 6

Stories from the Field Madhubani – Mask activity | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

Field Diary entry 5

Field Diary Entry 4

Stories from the Field Madhubani – Meeting Jyoti Devi | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

Field Diary Entry 3

Madhubani Village Child Protection Committee | Child Rights Organization | NGO In India

Field Diary Entry 2

Madhubani - Child Protection Campaign | Leher NGO in India

Field Diary Entry 1

Enroute Madhubani, Bihar - Child Protection Campaign

Enroute Madhubani

Field Diary – Working with Girls Group | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

Working in girls groups

Introducing Team Madhubani | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

Team Madhubani

One Year in Madhubani | Preventive Child Protection Campaign by Leher | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

1 year in Madhubani

Visit to Rayagada II, Odisha | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

Visit to Rayagada II

Visit to Rayagada I

The Problem Tree of Child Abuse | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

The problem tree

First interaction with the community in Madhubani | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

First interaction with the community in Madhubani

Together For Children: A Community’s Journey

Everydaychildhood – 5 of our favourite photographers

Everydaychildhood- Ahmer Khan’s depiction of a school under a bridge

Everydaychildhood- Ahmer Khan’s depiction of a school under a bridge | Leher NGO in India

@ahmermkhan is an independent photographer, who previously worked with the World Health Organization. His portfolio boasts of work with @buzzfeed, @guardian, @vicenews, @csmonitorpics, @BBC, @aljazeera and many other popular publications.

Ahmer’s proclivity towards social issues is apparent through his instagram feed that highlights the lives of homeless rickshaw pullers in Kolkata, children blinded by pellets in Kashmir, Rohingya muslims taking refuge in Delhi, adivasi children in Madhya Pradesh and victims of the Nepal earthquake, amongst others.

His portrayal of children going to school under a bridge in Delhi not only shows their zest and enthusiasm to learn but also their struggle to achieve a most basic right to education.

Read his stories on @everydaychildhood and follow @ahmermkhan for more of his work.

Underprivileged Indian children study at a free school run under a metro bridge in New Delhi, India. At least 250 children living in the nearby slums have been receiving free education from this school for the last 6 years. Most of the students who attend this school are born to migrant workers, labourers, rickshaw-pullers, daily wagers who live in shacks & hutments in the villages in East Delhi. Rajesh Kumar, 55, a grocery store owner in Delhi started this free school under the bridge in 2009. Interestingly, Kumar himself is a college dropout. Photo Ahmer Khan/BuzzFeed. #delhi #photostory #photojournalism #instagram #instagood #instahappy #instadaily #photooftheday #picoftheday #everydayeverywhere #photography #children #poor #education #india #magnum #gettyimages #repost #reportage #reportagespotlight #instagramdaily #childrenphoto #buzzfeed #pictureoftheday #indiaphotoproject

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Underprivileged Indian children at a free school run under a metro bridge in New Delhi, India. At least 250 children living in the nearby slums have been receiving free education from this school for the last 6 years. Most of the students who attend this school are born to migrant workers, labourers, rickshaw-pullers, daily wagers who live in shacks & hutments in the villages in East Delhi. Rajesh Kumar, 55, a grocery store owner in Delhi started this free school under the bridge in 2009. Interestingly, Kumar himself is a college dropout. Photo Ahmer Khan/BuzzFeed. #delhi #photostory #photojournalism #instagram #instagood #instahappy #instadaily #photooftheday #picoftheday #everydayeverywhere #photography #children #poor #education #india #magnum #gettyimages #repost #reportage #reportagespotlight #instagramdaily #childrenphoto #buzzfeed #pictureoftheday #indiaphotoproject

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Underprivileged Indian children play at a free school run under a metro bridge in New Delhi, India. At least 250 children living in the nearby slums have been receiving free education from this school for the last 6 years. Most of the students who attend this school are born to migrant workers, labourers, rickshaw-pullers, daily wagers who live in shacks & hutments in the villages in East Delhi. Rajesh Kumar, 55, a grocery store owner in Delhi started this free school under the bridge in 2009. Interestingly, Kumar himself is a college dropout. Photo Ahmer Khan/BuzzFeed. #delhi #photostory #photojournalism #instagram #instagood #instahappy #instadaily #photooftheday #picoftheday #everydayeverywhere #photography #children #poor #education #india #magnum #gettyimages #repost #reportage #reportagespotlight #instagramdaily #childrenphoto #buzzfeed #pictureoftheday #indiaphotoproject

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Pappu, 15, walks two kilometres everyday to reach to free school run under a metro bridge in New Delhi, India. At least 250 children living in the nearby slums have been receiving free education from this school for the last 6 years. Most of the students who attend this school are born to migrant workers, labourers, rickshaw-pullers, daily wagers who live in shacks & hutments in the villages in East Delhi. Rajesh Kumar, 55, a grocery store owner in Delhi started this free school under the bridge in 2009. Interestingly, Kumar himself is a college dropout. Photo Ahmer Khan/BuzzFeed. #delhi #photostory #photojournalism #instagram #instagood #instahappy #instadaily #photooftheday #picoftheday #everydayeverywhere #photography #children #poor #education #india #magnum #gettyimages #repost #reportage #reportagespotlight #instagramdaily #poorbaby #buzzfeed #pictureoftheday #portraitphotography #portrait

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Underprivileged Indian children copy from a blackboard at a free school run under a metro bridge in New Delhi, India. At least 250 children living in the nearby slums have been receiving free education from this school for the last 6 years. Most of the students who attend this school are born to migrant workers, labourers, rickshaw-pullers, daily wagers who live in shacks & hutments in the villages in East Delhi. Rajesh Kumar, 55, a grocery store owner in Delhi started this free school under the bridge in 2009. Interestingly, Kumar himself is a college dropout. Photo Ahmer Khan/BuzzFeed. #delhi #photostory #photojournalism #instagram #instagood #instahappy #instadaily #photooftheday #picoftheday #everydayeverywhere #photography #children #poor #education #india #magnum #gettyimages #repost #reportage #reportagespotlight #instagramdaily #poorbaby #childrenphoto #blackandwhite #bw #pictureoftheday #buzzfeed

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Underprivileged Indian children do physical training at a free school run under a metro bridge in New Delhi, India. At least 250 children living in the nearby slums have been receiving free education from this school for the last 6 years. Most of the students who attend this school are born to migrant workers, labourers, rickshaw-pullers, daily wagers who live in shacks & hutments in the villages in East Delhi. Rajesh Kumar, 55, a grocery store owner in Delhi started this free school under the bridge in 2009. Interestingly, Kumar himself is a college dropout. Photo Ahmer Khan for BuzzFeed. #delhi #photostory #photojournalism #instagram #instagood #instahappy #instadaily #photooftheday #picoftheday #everydayeverywhere #photography #children #poor #education #india #magnum #gettyimages #repost #reportage #reportagespotlight #instagramdaily #poorbaby #childrenphoto #blackandwhite #bw #pictureoftheday

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Everydaychildhood- Playgrounds of Mumbai through Gopal MS’s lens

Everydaychildhood- Playgrounds of Mumbai through Gopal MS’s lens | Leher NGO in India

Although a copywriter by profession, Gopal MS captures Mumbai as people rarely manage to – the quieter, intimate, almost hidden lives and happenings of a city that is often lost in the glitz and glamour of the metropolis; he captures the less photographed streets where gilli danda is still played and greenery often falls victim to infrastructure- places where the heart of the city lives. While people love to photograph their travels, Gopal says ‘he loves to shoot what is happening in his backyard.’

When you look for photography from the streets of Mumbai, you are sure to stumble upon a blog called ‘Mumbai Paused.’…A blog that Gopal M S began in 2009. As a compulsive photographer and diligent documentor he shoots several themes- from men’s fashion in their white sunglasses to the dying Vachnalayas or reading houses in Mumbai; from trees fighting for space in the art of killing series to the nostalgia of Bombay and a series on men at work and their workplaces. One of our favourites is his depiction of the #playgroundsofmumbai.

Despite the importance of play on a child’s health, development, self-esteem life skills and most importantly childhood – it remains mostly a ‘forgotten’ right of the child; it is rarely taken seriously by governments .

Playing in the open in urban settings continues to remain an elusive experience for many children, courtesy the shrinking spaces and lack of adequate resources available to them, driving youngsters to the road or other risk prone areas. From cricket in Shivaji Park to marbles or goti as they are called in Shivajinagar M Ward, the poorest ward of Mumbai, you often need to relook at his photos so you don’t miss out on the intimate details. Locked up behind closed door, on railway tracks and near trash cans, in badly maintained parks, in old abandoned corners, on busy streets and staircases- children continue to play in whatever available space with whatever available material, oblivious to a city that continues to be indifferent to their childhood and their basic right to play.

Read his stories on @everydaychildhood and follow @mumbaipaused for more of his work.

 

#playgroundsofmumbai

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#PlaygroundsOfMumbai

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#playgroundsofmumbai Eyes of wonder

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#PlaygroundsOfMumbai We make our own swings.

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#PlaygroundsOfMumbai When mother has to work.

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#playgroundsOfMumbai 20th Century Childhood. ₹2 per game (old big coin only)

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#PlaygroundsOfMumbai Harbour line

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#PlaygroundsOfMumbai

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#playgroundsofmumbai

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#PlaygroundsOfMumbai Tunnel builders on a mound of sand at a construction site.

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Everydaychildhood- Oinam Anand’s imagery of life in an unknown land

A photojournalist and columnist for the @indianexpress, @oinam.anand‘s imagery of Rohingya Muslim children, now settled in Delhi, brings focus and attention to the their muted and overlooked lives.

Labeled as one of the world’s most prosecuted minorities, Rohingyas, a stateless ethnic group loathed by many of Myanmar’s Buddhist majority, were forced to leave their homes since a bloody crackdown by the army in their home state of Rakhine. Many made their way to India, with nothing but the clothes they were wearing and with horrifying stories of rape, torture and murder. Denied citizenship and persecuted in their home country of Myanmar, uncertainty haunts the rebooted lives of these Muslim minority group.

Children make up more than half of the world’s 21.3 million refugees. Many have known nothing but war, deprivation and fear. They aren’t in school and often struggle to find the basic essentials – their lives and futures at risk.Oinam’s series on the refugee children of Delhi draws much needed attention to a group that is rarely seen or heard. Because every child, everywhere, deserves a childhood.

From make shift and shelter homes to madrassas cum schools turned into camps, Oinam’s camera takes us through the lives of these refugee children in Delhi- the deplorable conditions in which they live, the almost absent access to basic services of housing, education and healthcare and the bleak prospects for a future of children from a distant land, who take refuge in India.

Read his stories on @everydaychildhood and follow @oinam.anand for more of his work.

A girl playing in the rain outside a night shelter for the homeless in Delhi. © #delhi #rain #homeless

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A girl at the camp for Rohingya muslims in Delhi. © #rohingya #refugees #un #unhcr

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Everydaychildhood: Troubled waters, thirsty deserts and tormented childhoods through Arati Kumar Rao’s camera

Everydaychildhood: Troubled waters, thirsty deserts and tormented childhoods through Arati Kumar Rao’s camera | Leher NGO in India

@aratikumarrao is a visual storyteller – a photographer and writer who uses images, video, maps, and infographics to explore lives and places. She is averse to being classified under any category. As she observers “I tell stories-real-life stories, about landscapes and people, their traditional lives and the changes they see in it over time focusing mostly on issues that are underreported in the mainstream media.

Her muse is the water and she has been documenting the effects of land use change on ecosystems and livelihoods for more than a decade. Her haunting images of land, people, animals and water evoke shades of the majestic even as they sharply express the ravaged. She has reported stories of @slowviolence on humankind from the Sunderbans, to the Ganges, from the Thar Desert to the Brahmaputra river basin, captured the harrowing and eye-opening images of #environmentalrefugees, their catastrophic impact on the lives of children and their families and what it means for the future generations.

Named by Shutterstock in ‘100 Photographers From Around the World That You Should Follow Right Now’, Arati is also a contributor to @everydayclimatechange, a founding member of @peepliproject and has received various grants and awards for her outstanding work.

Arati sure knows the power of a good story as is visible through her compelling narrative and stunning photographs. Read her stories on @everydaychildhood and follow @aratikumarrao for more of her powerful and increasingly important work.

Portraits of #environmentalrefugees — kids without an assured education. Their parents have no assured livelihood. All of them have no assured homes. This district is sixth highest in all of India in population of kids. It is also one of the Most Backward Districts. Everyone rolls beedis by day, earns about a dollar or two a week, and listens to the river each night. The #Ganges rushes hungry, 80 ft below the precipice their homes perch precariously on. The monsoon, when the river will begin to rise, is two months away. The hungry river, deprived of her silt by the Farakka Barrage, has undercut the precipice, cleaved long chunks, and waits to eat all that is above. The refugees of Murshidabad district, squeezed between an encroaching river and a national highway, say they have forgotten what a good night's sleep is. #environmentalmigration #environmentaldisaster #refugees #erosion

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This is life in the interstice. A precipice plunges into the #Ganges river on one side, trucks thunder past on a smooth tolled National Highway on the other. Here, in-between, #environmentalrefugees of #erosion- torn West Bengal roll beedies. Women, kids, and anyone who can and is willing, cuts the leaves, stuffs tobacco, and rolls rolls rolls. Baskets walk out to the only painted polished half-way solid structures in the area: beedi distribution centers. "But then the UN comes," said a middle-aged man, father in law to a sarpanch. "They come and they ban beedies. They say it is unhealthy. Ok. Then give us an alternate livelihood. Give us a way to live." ——————————————————–Thoughtless, ineffective fixes, like boulder-bunds against rampant erosion by the #Ganges, are creating a slew of new #refugees. Bank-line erosion has increased after the Farakka Barrage was built in the 70s. It has disrupted the natural balance of silt carried by the river, increasing the river's appetite for land downstream. As a result, the river gulps up fertile paddy fields, rich groves of mangoes, homesteads, schools, everything. Lakhs and lakhs are forced back by the river each year, squeezed into ever narrowing strips of land, with no means of livelihood or sustenance. #onassignment for @theasiafoundation #transboundaryrivers #rivers #environmentalmigration #environmentalmigrants #erosion #displacement #dams #poverty #livelihood #loss #displacement

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What do you dream of, little Reena? What do you want to be? A teacher, she said. These people are from West Bengal. They lost their left bank land to an eastward migrating #Ganges upstream of the Farakka Barrage. A few years on, a char appeared on the right bank and they "recognized their land" and settled there. But the way the borders were drawn, West Bengal did not recognize that territory as its. The char has joined the mainland of Jharkhand. Ergo the char "belongs" to Jharkhand. But not necessarily the people. These char people are citizens of nowhere. Caught between a wandering river and two states, their future is as uncertain as the ephemeral sandbar they live on. #onassignment for @theasiafoundation #transboundaryrivers #rivers #environmentalmigration #environmentalmigrants #erosion #Ganges #livelihood #bengal #migration #environmentalrefugees #refugees #displacement

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A cloud burst in the hills of arunachal and a river raced down to the plains. Boulders were mined from its bed and trees had been felled. There was nothing to slow the river's furious pace. Its flow altered, and carting loads of sand loosened by the mining and deforestation, the river changed course, found a weak spot in an embankment, burst through and flooded fields of rich paddy and buried them under two meters of sand; the fields would now lie inert for years. This was the original course of the river. Children carefully collect sand strained water from the river bed. Upper Assam, #India #monsoon2014 #Monsoons #onassignment #FreshwaterTrail #rivers #mining #deforestation #floods #embankments #drinkingwater #watersecurity #cleanwater #livelihoods for @peepliproject

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Everydaychildhood: Ravi Mishra captures the choking fumes, chunks of coal and children coming of age in the mines of Jharia, Jharkhand

An aspiring visual activist, @ravimishra‘s work on human rights issues ranges from women to children, the environment to elections, covering extensively predominant concerns of today’s India. Besides being the Ambassador for The People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (@PVCHR), an Indian non-governmental organisation that fights for the rights of marginalised people in several North-Indian states, especially in Varanasi & Uttar Pradesh and founding @everydayindia, Ravi Mishra has co-owned popular human interest stories with the likes of @DanielBerehulak, @KevinFrayer, @AlexMasi and published his works with leadings international publications.

Amongst his works that have taken him to rural and urban India, across slums and red-light districts, religious congregations and festivals, secretive e-waste sites and election booths, Ravi’s exploration of unregulated coal mines in India and their employment of children is particularly absorbing.

Recently on instagram, he shared stories of children working in mines of Jharia, Jharkhand, where social and environmental costs of unregulated and unlawful coal mining are ignored, where families working in the coal mining belts across India are regularly displaced, where going to school and living dreams is impossible, where coal fire, fumes and scavenging is a way of life and where ‘childhood’ holds no meaningful significance.

Read these stories on @everydaychildhood and follow @ravimishraindia for more of his inspiring work.

Salman (10) poses for a portrait in Jharia, Jharkhand. I dream of becoming an engineer and help my family by getting a Job where I can earn more then 100 – 120 RS (approx 2 USD), I get very tired because we start walking (working) at around 4 A.M everyday, and walk (work) till late in the afternoon. The scavengers around this region start their day long before the sun rises in the sky, a big group of scavengers, especially women and young children between the age group of 8 to 15, begin the first of countless treks down a steep and narrow switchback into the open pit mine to scavenge chunks of coal, which they carry back to the surface in baskets balanced atop their heads. This year I will be sharing some of my favourite stories that I have covered in Jharia for the past 8 years. #Everydayindia #everydayclimatechange #everydayeverywhere #people #life #climatechange #pollution #fire #nature #India #Asia #reportagespotlight #landscape #NatgeoEarthDay #January2017

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Babu (Changed name),6, poses for a portrait in Jharia, Jharkhand. I first met Babu in 2014, a 3-year-old toddler then, whose face was covered with black dust blowing out of the coal burning just a few metres away from him. It was very scary to see him sitting and playing so close to the fire all alone, so I moved him away from it. Seeing toddlers and young children around the burning coal is a very common scene, but, mostly there is an adult around, so I was a little surprised to see Babu sitting alone. Hence, I asked the people around about the whereabouts of his parents. I was informed that Babu had lost his parents in an accident, and is being raised by his grand parents. I have been meeting Babu every time I go back to Jharia. My eyes fill with tears of joy every time I see him, but it also breaks my heart to see a toddler turning into a man, seeing him missing out on being a child. It's heartbreaking to watch him carry chunks of scavenged coal, and not being given a chance to study, play and have a childhood. This year I will be sharing stories that I have covered in Jharia for the past 8 years. #Everydayindia #everydayclimatechange #everydayeverywhere #people #life #climatechange #pollution #fire #nature #India #Asia #reportagespotlight #landscape #NatgeoEarthDay #January2017

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"I can lift almost 30- 50 kg of coal at a time", recounts Gautam Kumar Yadav, 13, who has been working in the coalfields of Jharia since the age of 5 i.e. for eight long years! With Hindi as his favourite subject, Gautam goes to school and studies in fourth grade, presently. Although unable to recall much of his learnings from the subject, he tells that he is strong in the field and can cope with peculiarities like headaches. While appreciating him for his dedication, I asked him about his dream. Aiming high, he said that he would love to join the Police services or become a Doctor or work with BCCL -a subsidiary of Coal India Limited. This year I will be sharing stories that I have covered in Jharia for the past 8 years. #Everydayindia #everydayclimatechange #everydayeverywhere #people #life #climatechange #pollution #fire #nature #India #Asia #reportagespotlight #landscape #NatgeoEarthDay #PVCHR #tybittoo

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"I had discontinued school after my father's demise", says Sadaam Khan, 14. He recalls having left school after his third grade. Sadaam has been earning his bread since 5-6 years by scavenging coal in Jharia. When asked if he would like to resume school, he promptly replies with a 'yes'. From "I'll become whatever destiny holds for me" to "I want to become an Engineer" Sadaam's future aspirations reflect his high hopes from life. I asked him if there was anything that he would like to ask from the rest of the world. He replied, "I would ask for the fulfillment of my dream of becoming an Engineer after studying well." This year I will be sharing stories that I have covered in Jharia for the past 8 years. #Everydayindia #everydayclimatechange #everydayeverywhere #people #life #climatechange #pollution #fire #nature #India #Asia #reportagespotlight #landscape #NatgeoEarthDay #tybitto #dailylifeindia

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"Every time I pick up the basket, my head aches, but it recovers after some time", recollects Sandeep, a 13-year-old boy who shares his experience of working in the coalfields of Jharia while scavenging coal since last one year. Sandeep , who used to help his father in the fields earlier, has never been to a school. On being asked about his desire/dream, he says that he dreams of riding a tempo rickshaw after growing up in order to earn a living. This year I will be sharing stories that I have covered in Jharia for the past 8 years. #Everydayindia #everydayclimatechange #everydayeverywhere #people #life #climatechange #pollution #fire #nature #India #Asia #reportagespotlight #landscape #NatgeoEarthDay #tybitto #dailylifeindia

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Watching Karu, a small child sitting alone on top of a pile of rocks surrounded by coal, soiled by black dust, turning his back to the rest of the world makes me reflect on the state of existence of children in the coalfields of Jharia. The kid seems to have become more familiar with coal than anything else around. This makes me recall the days when I was a child and how cluelessly, at the age of 13, I embarked on an unknown journey of life, with no one else around me, it reminded me of the time when I had to take tough decisions in situations that offered hardly any choices and how I had to work for 20-21 hours to ensure survival. The plight of kids here in Jharia is disheartening. Almost every child lives a life that many of us can't even think of. The word 'childhood’ holds no meaning in their lives. Working conditions in the coalfields are such that a mere slip of foot would result in death from coal fire. Children who have hardly completed a decade of their lives, have dry scaly skin, already. The limbs that are supposed to be nurtured with oil and sports are found smeared in coal and black dust. The air that they respire does no good, either. Their faces are smudged with ashes and soot. Their growth stunted. It is difficult to digest the fact that children as young as 5 get up at 4 in the morning and walk for hours- only to earn a living! It feels terrible to watch such small kids scavenging coal, picking up numerous baskets, making countless treks up and down the hills, getting stained with black coal in a dangerously polluted and unsafe region, leaving behind their childhood- only to find means of survival. But, there's a gleam of hope that comes out of their sparkling eyes as they speak. The smile that shoves off every dust particle on their face overpowers all odds.
 @thevisualactivist for #everydayindia #PVCHR #u4humanrights #India #Asia #everydayclimatechange #everydayeverywhere #tybitto #reportagespotlight #Jharia

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Theek ho? Unforgettable conversations from a field visit to Kashmir.

Unforgettable conversations from a field visit to Kashmir | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization

Theek ho? Abh friends to keh sakte hai ki aap Gulmarg Ghume. Good morning.” A message on Whatsaap accompanied by a picture of snow clad hills of Gulmarg.

Kashmir aap ko miss karta hai. Good morning.” Another Whatsapp message accompanied by a picture of a platter of dried fruit.

It is Day 5 since we returned from Kashmir and the messages continue.

The person who drove us was amused that we showed no interest in touristic pursuits, and that we turned down repeated offers of a quick trip to Gulmarg. He said in jest a few times, “What Kashmir have you come to see?” We teased him back lightly saying, “See, maybe cabbies are responsible for people not understanding problems faced here. Maybe it is because you show them Gulmarg and tell them things are alright. Maybe you need to talk to them about your lives and experiences.” He shrugged his shoulders, “What madam… who wants to listen? Before we even leave the airport, I’m asked several times “how long to Gulmarg…” Where do I begin with them?

The Leher team visited Kashmir for a week on a project to document experiences and learning from a program for children in communities severely affected by the unrest in the valley last year. A lot of our time was spent travelling the length and breadth of districts, visiting communities, and in conversation with children, youth and parents. Overwhelming beauty, suffering, and uncertainty – things you are not used to seeing together. At the end of each day, we drove back heavy heartedly through narrow lanes in snow covered hills lined by Kashmir’s famed Chinars. Standing tall against the light of a fading sun, the Chinars hold your gaze till you have to look away. It felt like they too held stories within. Kashmir and its people consumed us in an indescribable way.

We visited the principal of a school. It was a freezing cold day with unexpected snowfall. His old mother hugged and kissed us, ushered us into their living room, covered us with a blanket, placed warm Kaangris beside us, Lipton tea (regular tea with milk and sugar, not necessarily Lipton brand) and cake before us. Only then did she retreat, to allow our meeting with her son to proceed. The principal, a remarkable human being, told us about his curfew school, a learning group run voluntarily through his network of teacher friends reaching out to more than 100 children in his neighbourhood, when Kashmir was shut down last year. He smiled and stoically shared with us, “One day we pick up the injured, the next we bury a child, then a wedding at home, cries of sorrow, laughter, not knowing what the next day will bring … This is our lot. We find a way to smile, to be normal, we have to go on.”

Aap theek? Are you well?” is a warm informal manner of greeting people. Thanks, is then given to god for being well in the same greeting, and often in conversation a gentle invocation is made to god to forbid anything from going wrong. This faith and belief gives people the strength to cope with what comes their way and fills them with a sense of hope for peace and happiness too.

If your life’s journey ever takes you to Kashmir, please make time to listen, to talk to people, make connections, have some Lipton and cake, some Nun Chai and roti, share a Wazwaan, ask “aap theek?” receive and give some hugs. Let the Chinars tell you their stories…

5 States with High Percentage Child Labour | Say NO to Child Labour

5 stats that account for 58.35 % child workers in India

Child Labour in India | Statistics of Child Labour in India | NGO India

Did we count right?

How Sports and Play Prompts Quality Education | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

How sports and play prompts quality education

5 Ways in Which Deaf Blindness Is Crippling For Children - Issues and Challenges

5 ways in which deafblindness is crippling for children

Delaying Adolescent Pregnancy and India’s GDP | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

Delaying adolescent pregnancy and India’s GDP

Child Labour Statistics in India | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

India’s workforce, India’s children

The problem tree

Why Children’s should Not Send to the Adult Prison? | No Prison for Children Campaign | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

There’s NO excuse for sending children to adult prison

Pray for Paris | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

#Prayforparis

World Population Day | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

World Population day

#KhelBadal Video Volunteers | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

Video volunteers

Mullen Lowe Lintas | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

Mullen Lowe lintas

Helen Kellar Institute for Deaf & Deafblind, Navi Mumbai | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

Hellen keller

My Father Illustrations Campaign | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

My Father Illustrations

Making Education Safer for All | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

Safe city

Play Matters

No Prison for Children | Child Rights Organization | NGO in India

No prison for children