By Merril Diniz:
It is estimated that over 2 million children live on the streets of our country. With little access to education, clean water, sanitation and nutrition, they spend most of their childhoods engaged in backbreaking professions. Society further makes their identities ‘invisible’ everyday, putting them under one neat label – ‘street children’. Well, it’s time to change that. On October 8 2016, join Youth Ki Awaaz, along with Save The Children India, for our event ‘#TheInvisibles: A Dialogue’, where five change-makers talk about how we, as a collective, can advocate for the rights of #EveryLastChild on the street. Here’s more about the speakers who’ll be sharing their stories and perspectives:
A two-time MP from Bolangir in Odisha, Kalikesh is passionate about social development and is well-known for initiating the popular LAMP (Legislative Assistance to MPs) programme, where young graduates assist MPs in legislative research work. He is currently a member of the Finance Committee on Estimates, the Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Consultative Committee on Finance and Corporate Affairs.
Anju serves as the Executive Director of Multiple Action Research Group (MARG), which works passionately on justice and legal empowerment with grassroots communities, NGOs and institutions across India. For several years, she has practised as an advocate of the Guwahati High Court in Assam and served as a lecturer, teaching Land Laws, Women’s Rights, Child Rights and Law of Contract. She also set up the Assam Unit of the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) in Guwahati to secure the rights of the marginalised, primarily through litigation.
15-year-old Salmaan used to live on the streets of North Delhi before being rescued by one of Save the Children India’s partner NGOs. Now, he is an aspiring actor and a powerful advocate for children’s rights. 14-year-old Nisha used to work as a domestic helper. Forced to work against her will, she was keen to go to school and eventually through Save The Children’s partner NGOs, was enrolled in an English Medium school, where she excels in studies. Both Salmaan and Nisha will share their experiences and aspirations for a hopeful future.
An IAS officer for two decades, Harsh is now Director of The Centre for Equity Studies in New Delhi, an organisation engaged in research and advocacy on a range of social and economic justice issues. A founding member of the National Campaign for the People’s Right to Information, he is a social worker, writer, researcher and teacher, working with the survivors of mass violence, hunger, homeless persons and street children. He has also authored several critical books, penned powerful columns in The Hindu, Hindustan Times and Mint, and has had his stories adapted by prominent filmmakers like Shyam Benegal.
Join the conversation this Saturday, October 8, 2016, at 10 a.m. at the Russian Centre for Science & Culture, New Delhi. Register and get more details here.