A Child-Friendly Environment Is Essential To Children's Rights

A Child-Friendly Environment Is Essential To Children's Rights

Child Rights Week is universally celebrated between 14 November and 20 November. In India, 14 November is observed as Children’s Day whereas 20 November is when in 1959 UN General Assembly  (UNGA) adopted the ‘Declaration of the Rights of Child’. On the same date in 1989, UNGA adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Children. Advocates of child rights and organisations working on child rights celebrate this week to raise awareness among wider stakeholders, society and parents about child rights.

This year, Oxfam India celebrated this week in Raebareli, Pratapgarh and Fatehpur districts of Uttar Pradesh engaging children with recreational activities around child rights. During the week-long celebration in 10 government schools, teachers, parents and volunteers organised bal mela with games, songs, poems and other recreational activities. Children also made toy using clay, paints and locally available materials.

The process of engaging children has been very exciting where teachers, parents, School Management Committee (SMC) members, panchayat members and village officials worked together to make school space child-friendly. Due to Covid, schools were closed for more than a year which led to huge learning loss among children. The discontinuation of studies forced many children into child labour. The child rights week helped in reigniting interest of children in school and school activities; this was evident from the large turnout during the week. 

Sonali Kesari, District Programme Officer, Fatehpur organised different recreational activities with around 60 children in Primary School-Korai (2) with the support of parents, teachers and SMCs. Children participated in sack race, frog race, three-legged race, they made greeting cards, and participated in music and rangoli competitions. As part of the exercise, children were made to write down their ambitions and aspirations when they grew up. "This was an important exercise that helped raise their expectations towards their career and motivated them towards education," Sonali said. 

Children and teachers developed poster on child rights which helped develop their understanding of child rights. During one of the activities, a girl student shared that her mother always scolded her whenever she wanted to go out and play with her friends. "This was a good point to engage with parents and teachers on the need to change the gender biased thinking and social norms if we want equal rights for boys and girls," said Anita, a community mobiliser with Oxfam India in Fatehpur.

In Pratapgarh, too, there was much excitement around the events. The week for these children here started with a discussion around discrimination which they later also explained through art. A role play on child rights was staged. It was much appreciated, said Ranvijay Rai, District Programme Officer, Pratapgarh. Similar activities were done in other schools as well. During the week, a 20% increase in children's attendance was recorded. The Block Education Officer shared, "we need to develop child friendly environment in the school which will retain interest of children in education". Children also made toys and prepared teaching learning materials from clay, and locally available natural materials like leaves, flowers etc.

During the week, 2588 children including 1337 girls and 1251 boys were engaged through different child-friendly activities. Besides children, 100 school teachers and 99 parents also engaged in these activities. Discussions were held on different child rights and ways to fight for their rights. These activities helped in developing child-friendly environment, sensitising teachers, parents and children about child rights and promoting child leadership. Children were told about their rights including right to survival, right to development, right to participation and right to protection. They were informed about whom they can approach in case of any kind of violation or threat of violation of child rights.

Oxfam India is working on the issue of education of children in 560 villages covering 360 schools. We want to create child-friendly environment in all schools where there should be equal opportunity for each child to grow and they do not have to face any discrimination based on caste, class, religion or gender. 

To ensure quality education governments should focus on effective implementation of The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act) by making all schools compliant to the 10 parameters of RTE Act. At present, while 27.7% of schools in UP are RTE compliant, less than 25% schools across the country are compliant with RTE norms. Even after completion of 11 years of enactment of RTE Act, the dream of neighbourhood schools remain unfulfilled. There is a need to strengthen grievance redressal system as well by State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) to safeguard rights of children.

📢Oxfam India is now on Telegram. Click here to join our Telegram channel and stay tuned to the latest updates and insights on social and development issues. 



We work to achieve the goal of universal, inclusive and quality elementary education.

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