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Executing the power for the rights of children

On 24 June 2018 gathering information from very trustworthy sources and having received letters and documents from various sources including Chithra Don Bosco, the whole administrative team of Chitradurga district was all set for a combined effort to combat problems related to children in Konapura village, Molakalmuru taluk, Chitradurga District. Ms. VV Josna, Deputy Commissioner (DC), Mr. Ravindra, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. A G Anthony, Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI), Mr. P. Roshan, Deputy Superintendent of Police and Mr. Kotresh and other dignitaries stayed in the village overnight and observed the situation to make further positive decisions. At around 6.30 pm the Deputy Commissioner along with other dignitaries were welcomed solemnly by children, villagers and village administration. After having addressed the gathering of over 700 people of varied capacities starting from children to adults, the Deputy Commissioner then went around the whole village led by the class 7 students interacting with the school children, parents and to get the first-hand information. As per the information received from the DDPI, over 125 children were out of school in Molakalmuru taluk. On visiting the village, the DC gathered more information regarding 16 school dropout children who discontinued the studies at class 6. The village is said to answer the question, the deputy commissioner collected the details of children by visiting the houses, taking every effort to make sure that every child attends school regularly. Taking an advocacy action CREAM staff and Fr Sony, Director of Chithra Don Bosco, Chitradurga attended the programme to join hands with DC and other dignitaries to sort out the problems of children.

In the village it was noticed that 4 children were taken in vehicles to nearby locations for work. While interaction with those 4 children it was known that these children and many others were at work sorting Neem seeds. The children leave the village at 04.00 am for work and return after 10.00 pm. The children are paid Rs. 500-1000, hence children leave the school and become experts in sorting seeds so as to earn money. The process happens during the months of June, July and August and most children drop the school and education during these months. Further enquiring, it was revealed that the other reason for the issue of dropout is early marriage of girl children in the village. With the information the CREAM staff visited a 15 year old girl child who has a child four months old. Similarly the team identified many more cases of young girls. Staffs conversed to a pregnant girl aged 14, who supposed to be pursuing education in class 9; she had to discontinue her studies when she was in class five. Likewise many girls in the village were given away in marriage at a very early age destroying the bright future of young girls.

Next day the Deputy Commissioner found 37 children out of the school in the entire village and out of this, 32 children were spotted and were enrolled in the neighbouring high school, others were given admission in Rampura and some children to Thammenahalli. 21 children out of 32 were admitted to higher primary and 11 children to high school. They were provided with uniforms and books. BEO instructed officials to find out the other 5 children and to do the needful with immediate effect.

The effort has resulted in marking and highlighting the value of education and on the actions which will be taken if the children are not sent to school on a regular basis. The news was covered in media to spread the awareness. It is praiseworthy to note that the whole action was initiated as a result of the efforts of Mr. Bommanna, a Social activist from the same village. The DC along with the district and village administration will chalk out concrete strategic actions to make remarkable changes in the village and people at large.



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