By Anshul Tewari:
Over the last few days, we told you about what it really means to fight for child rights in India. We also told you Reshma’s heart wrenching storyÂ how she had a still born child, who suffocated inside her womb, due to lack of proper medical help.
In India, one child dies every 20 seconds due to easily preventable illness. 126 lakh children are engaged in child labour, and 170 lakh children remain out of school. For a country whose 40% of the population constitutes children, we have the dubious distinction of not caring for the future generations of our country. Are we really that selfish?
Pick up any manifesto of one of the mainstream national parties and you will find that there is no strong focus on the development of children. What’s problematic is that most of the political manifestos club women and children together, while it is widely known that the issues of women and children are extremely different, and they need to be dealt with differently. Children need a stronger political focus. In a country of over 1.2 billion people, bringing in laws is only the beginning, the real struggle is the implementation, and at the policy level – the battle is not being fought.
Rampant malnourishment cases and those of newborn deaths are growing as we speak. Lack of proper educational and recreational facilities are creating an entire generation of underprivileged population, and sadly enough we do not see it right now. The world decades from now will suffer, and our inaction will be to be blamed.
This election stands as an important one, and you already know it. People are more aware and are asking crucial questions from their leaders, before they cast their vote. This election is also important for one more reason, if you, me and everyone else decide that we want a better future for the children of India, we can take a stand and vote for the party or politician that guarantees us that.
We don’t ask for too much. The Save the Children charter details out what really needs to be done, and one quick look at the same will tell you how basic the demands and needs of India’s children really are. We want our political leaders to guarantee that once voted to power, they will act and ensure basic rights for India’s children.
Political manifestos are being made, and the process is catching speed. We need you NOW to help us advocate.
Save the Children and Youth Ki Awaaz are proud to announce the #Vote4Children campaign that aims at giving you the opportunity to drive strong political advocacy, coupled with strong public action, to ensure that the needs of India’s future generation are at the forefront, this election.
In the next few days, you will hear heartbreaking stories which prompt us again and again to fight for a population that is not a vote bank, you will get a chance to engage with influencers and champions of the children’s cause, well known social figures such as Nandita Das and others, and will also get to be a part of our political advocacy process. But more than anything, we really want you to sign the #Vote4Children pledgeÂ below this post.
Signing the pledge is the first step to telling your decision makers that this situation needs to change, and that the time is NOW to make stronger policies for India’s children. When you sign the pledge, decision makers receive theÂ Save the Children charterÂ detailing out whatÂ exactlyÂ needs to be done. But this is not where it stops. The pressure you build helps your decision makers know that this matters to you, the people, the most. Constant pressure till the elections and beyond is what we need.
As I ask you to sign, I want to leave you with one thought: Decades from now, when our children grow up, they will ask us one question, “Where were you when my future was being decided, why did you not act to ensure that I receive the basic entitlements?”, and at that moment you will not have an answer.
Let’s not let this happen. Act now and change the future of the country.