Every individuals should be entitled to basic human rights, no matter adults or children. However, in reality, millions of children are far from having their rights secured. Children’s rights is not just an ideology, but are about children’s survival, children being free from any form of abuse and exploitation, children’s entitlement to education, children’s freedom of expression and their rights to enjoy social and cultural lives.
“Trust Our Children” is the theme of this year’s Barefoot Walk event. The theme responds to the spirit of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child, on the other hand it is to call on adults to pay attention to the dire situations faced by children in developing regions. Children should not be treated as merely tragic characters sinned against by the adults, instead they should be taken as protagonists who long to thrive. Their dreams will become true if we are willing to fulfill our commitments set forth in the Convention and provide necessary protection and conditions for the children to grow. 16-year-old Julie from New Delhi of India showcases how change can happen and how we can play a part.
Julie lived with her parents and brothers in a garbage dump in New Delhi. They made a living by sorting out garbage waste, and collecting valuables out of the dump. Julie did not have the chance to attend school like her brothers do. She only got to stay and work in the dump all day. Two years ago, CEDAR’s partner, Society for Promotion of Tribal Welfare and Development (SPTWD), visited Julie’s family. Having looked into the family’s background, circumstances and needs, they invited Julie to their learning centre. At the learning centre, Julie got a taste of schooling and learnt about personal hygiene. She learnt how to read and write – from not know a word to writing her name, basic Hindu and English words, and even some simple arithmetic. “Through learning, I can now read number plates of buses and public transport notices when I go out,” Julie said excitedly.
However, Julie stopped going to the learning centre a while later, because she had to resume work with her parents, in order to support her family. With the knowledge she obtained, she, voluntarily, took records of the weights of the garbage waste at the collection centre. Despite her circumstances, Julie does not lose hope. She is hopeful that one day she could take on a proper job as a seamstress or beautician, and then she could help her family to live dignified lives.
In mid-August, SPTWD staff met with Julie’s father again. Her father agreed to let Julie take a diploma course on tailoring and beauty. The staff promised that once she got enrolled, they would not charge her any tuition and even pay for her two-way transportation to and from the centre.
As we admire Julie’s unwavering hope, unyielding determination, and focused heart? Let’s not forget that she is not the only one. Many children are facing similar conditions and fighting life’s circumstances with the same hope. Will you join us to witness the holistic transformation of these children? We invite you to support us in prayers and join this year’s Barefoot Walk on 24th November.