I’ve been a ghazal (popular Indian music form) maniac ever since I came of age and saw my erudite father listening to them on All India Radio and one of those, resonantly sung by the great maestro, Jagjit Singh, is still vividly etched in my mind, especially because it’s about childhood, and that is…
“Ye daulat bhi le lo, ye shohrat bhi le lo,
Bhale chheen lo mujhse meri jawaani,
Magar mujhko lauta do, bachpan ka saawan,
Wo kaagaz ki kashti, wo baarish ka paani…”
Aah… Sigh…! Such beloved is childhood for every person that invariably everyone regards it as the golden period of one’s lifetime…
A child’s smile illumines your mind no matter the state of your mood. The child is unaware of all responsibilities and sorrows but not all children are blessed with good times. There are countless children who are bread earners of their families. Even babies, malnourished to great extents, serve as the source of earnings at streets for many poverty-stricken parents. It is the need of the hour for NGOs, govt. and common masses to come forward and contribute for their cause.
India is a developing nation and as in most of the developing nations of the world, in India too, a number of factors remain unnoticed, non-amended. The most important of all is the welfare of the underprivileged strata of the society. There are a number of poverty-stricken families who cannot support their children and hence leave them on the roads to beg or to earn as wage workers. These children are the building blocks of our nation; they are the future of our country and, hence, how can we let them impact our country’s future!
I strongly reckon that those who are not entitled to luxuries of life by birth need not stay in poverty the entire life. Children from economically backward families do not have to face the brunt of harsh life; they just need our support. There are a number of children who are encouraged to drop their studies early in life and work as laborers. A number of times, we do see such destitute children around the traffic signals, many others working at construction sites or factories just for some meager amount of money.
I often wonder… Wide eyed, under-nourished children standing dusty by the side of the road while Mercedes and BMWs zoom by them… Will this continue to be the unpalatable destiny of India, my dear friends? Will the underprivileged continue to be left behind, while the prosperous enjoy opportunities and luxuries like never before?? Will juvenile voices asking for a better future continue to be unheard???
Well, children have the right to study and enjoy their childhood. However 50% of school age children in India are not in school even today after 62 years of our nation’s celebrated independence. It is estimated that there are anywhere between 10-20 million children working as laborers in hazardous industries and being exploited when they should be learning and playing.
Education is the key to unlocking our children’s future, the key which will allow them to lead a dignified and financially independent adult life.
Well, my dear friends, I just received a heartening e-mail from the Indiblogger team informing me about a grand initiative by one of India’s most trusted and credible NGOs, ‘GiveIndia’ which is taking part in a competition on Facebook to win a US$1 million grant. The winner will be the NGO that gets the highest number of votes from Facebook users. The prize of $1 million will help put or keep 40,000 children across India in school for one year!
The project details from the Give India’s Facebook page are as follows:
“GIVE Foundation will use the $1mn grant to for educational sponsorships costing $43 per child per year thus providing access to education to more than 20,000 children through our partner NGOs. All partner NGOs have undergone due diligence, and are highly transparent and credible organizations. They are located across India and provide access to education to underprivileged children, including the girl child, tribal children and children from remote rural areas.”
“However, so that your vote Counts and goes Further we will take the balance of about $90,000 and run a matching campaign that raises an additional $1mn from individual donors. This balance will also help meet the operating costs of running this program, including costs of project monitoring, and tracking including regular quarterly updates.”
“Each, $43 sponsorship will provide books, school bags and uniforms to the children as well as the education i.e. teachers’ salaries and other costs to ensure a quality education.”
“More than 20,000 children will be educated for a year with the grant support. In addition over 20,000 children will be educated for a year through matching donations raised from individuals, thus ensuring that in all, more than 40,000 children are educated.”
“The program aims to make the underprivileged children of India self-reliant and independent by providing them a mainstream education. It is a movement to strengthen the future of the nation, an attempt towards a better life.”
“Each child we help is one less child that has to work for a living; one less child that has to experience illiteracy; one less child that has no hope for the future.”
“We believe that there are enough people who want to see this happen, enough people to ensure that we get 40,000 votes that will in turn help to educate 40,000 children. One VOTE = one CHILD!”
As the magnificent ‘sher’ (an Urdu verse) goes…
“Ghar se masjid hai agar dur, chalo yun kar lein,
Kisi rote hue bachche ko hansaaya jaaye…”
Voting in the competition is for one week only, from Friday, January 15 to Friday, January 22, 2010. I’m sure; all of us put together can make a big difference in the next 4 days!
The link for voting, where you can also see more details of the competition, is…
My best wishes are with the ‘Give India’ team for their admirable endeavor! Gung-ho!!! My dear friends, I have, obviously, voted for it at Facebook, already; when are you voting for the noble cause…? J