The CREAM staff from the ten project districts of Karnataka gathered for the State Level Meeting at Don Bosco Provincial House, Bangalore on 13 and 14 June 2019, to present district reports and discuss the way forward by planning and strategising. The inaugural ceremony commenced with the lighting of the lamp by Dr. Antony Sebastian, Chairperson, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR), Bangalore, the chief guest for the day. The other important dignitaries were Fr. M.K George, Rector, DB Provincial House, Bangalore, Fr. Jose Koyickal, Vice Provincial, Bangalore Province, Fr. Joy Nedumparambil, Executive Director BREADS and Fr. Rubin Mathew, Asst. Director BREADS.
Fr. M.K George formally welcomed all the dignitaries and the Project Directors, Coordinators and social activists from the various districts of Karnataka. Fr. Jose addressed the gathering and offered best wishes to the staff in taking forward the activities with more delight and zeal. Thereafter, a glimpse of CREAM II from 2016 to 2019 was presented by Fr. Joy Nedumparambil, which highlighted the success of the project in various districts. Dr. Antony Sebastian, the Chief Guest, in his address, promised the support of the Commission as backbone for the welfare of children. The formal inauguration was then concluded by Fr. Rubin Mathew, who proposed a vote of thanks. Moderated by Fr. Joy Nedumparambil, the Chairperson had an interactive discussion with the CREAM staff, to understand the obstacles and challenges they faced in the districts in working with the existing government child protection mechanisms. The Chitradurga district coordinator submitted a memorandum to the Chairperson for the renovation of the government school in Gunderi village, Chitradurga which is on the verge of demolition. Numerous requests, letters and initiatives were submitted to the various government departments at the grassroot level but without any response. On behalf of the Gunderi community, the Chitradurga CREAM coordinator proposed a new government school building and submitted consent letters of the local panchayat, Panchayat Development Officer (PDO), and Block Education Officer (BEO). The request was considered as priority and the Chairperson promised to take action concerning the matter and offered practical solutions and guidance on the issues raised by the district staff. He also informed the gathering of the scheduled public hearing in Kalaburagi on July 5th, meant to address the issues of the northern districts such as Kalaburagi, Yadgir and Raichur, where the prevalence of child rights violations are high.
Every district presented their report on the various advocacies, campaigns and special activities conducted to ensure that children can access their rights. During the afternoon session, representatives from Akshara Foundation, namely, Ms. Pushpa, Ms. Nalini and Mr. Suresh Kumar introduced Building Blocks- a mobile app designed to make Math learning easy for children. The concept of the app, the download methods, use and the process were demonstrated by the team. The developers thought that the app would be useful because their survey showed that one in five households, even in rural areas, has a smartphone. BREADS promised to look for ways to promote the app in convergence with the various programmes initiated by BREADS. Five districts completed their presentations on the first day of the state-level meeting, after which, Mr. Shivamallu and team from BOSCO made a short presentation on the need and challenges of foster care.
On the second day, Dr. Niranjanaradhya V.P, Senior Fellow and Programmes Head-Universalisation of Equitable Quality Education, Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University presented an in-depth understanding of the Implementation of the RTE Act in Karnataka; Issues and challenges. The session was followed by a discussion on CREAM III, possibilities and strategies. Fr. Joy Nedumparambil facilitated the discussion and suggestions from the districts were debated and accepted. The afternoon session continued with the presentations from the remaining five districts. The presentations helped districts to exchange ideas and learn new practices shared by others. At the end, Ms. Vinnarasi from BOSCO, Bangalore proposed the vote of thanks and Ms. Guru Lakshmi spontaneously shared her joy and learning from participating in the state-level discussions of the CREAM team. The whole meeting came to end by 5:00 pm.
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