Meet The 12-Year-Old Who Gave Up Smoking And Violence To Become A Child Rights Crusader

Meet 12-year-old Faheem. Born in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, to a single mother who worked as a domestic worker, Faheem had a difficult childhood. Smoking, violence, abusive language – Faheem was involved in all of this growing up in the slum of Jhakarkatti. His peer group in the slum was made up of children from similar backgrounds.

Faheem, 12, Child State Representative from Uttar Pradesh

But right from the beginning, Faheem was unhappy with his life. He knew he was more than his circumstances and wanted a better life, education and livelihood for himself. So, when he got in touch with child welfare officers, he was one of the first few children who volunteered to attend the counselling sessions organised for the children. There, he was quick to take on the role of a leader and began to bring in other children from the slum into the camp.

He enrolled in school, where he outshone his peers in his studies. Mindful of the fact that his friends weren’t coping, though, he began coaching them after school hours to keep them in school. Faheem even went a step ahead to convince his mother to let his friends use a room in his house for after-school lessons.

His natural leadership qualities, thirst to prove himself and the helping hand he leant to his peers earned him the privilege of representing the children of the state of Uttar Pradesh in amplifying voices and needs of children among policymakers.

We caught up with Faheem at the conference where he presented the children’s demands to find out a little more about the issues children in his state face. Here’s what we found:

On Access To Free And Quality Healthcare

On The Quality Of Education Children Receive

On The Need For Clean And Healthy Surroundings

On The Need For Protection And Empowerment Of The Girl Child

On The Need For Community Awareness Around Hygiene

On The Nation He Wants For Children

Liked reading this story? Check out demands from children from Jharkhand, Delhi and Rajasthan too! What other demands do you think the government needs to fulfil to ensure that the nation nurtures and protects its future? Write in with your ideas and solutions! Learn more about the #Vote4Children campaign, here!

Take the poll to help shape India’s future!

Created by Youth Ki Awaaz

Do you think children's issues get the attention they deserve in Indian politics?
Similar Posts

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below