Education as The Power Of Change: Celebrating Universal Children’s Day in Bihar, India


While the world celebrated the existence of the rights of a child on November 20th, Manav Vikas Kendra (MVK) at Jagdishpur Block of Bhojpur District in Bihar India, extended the celebration over 4 days to emphasize the importance of the concept. Manav Vikash Kendra is a NGO working on women empowerment, child education, health and hygiene and advocacy work in the marginalized community in Bihar.                                              

The focus of the 4-day long celebration was the Right to Education, aiming at increasing the enrollment while simultaneously decreasing the dropout rate for primary and secondary education of the marginalized group of Musahar Children. The Musahar community in India has suffered severe marginalization throughout the years. The marginalization is especially visible when it comes to development, be it economic growth or social perception.

According to article 21A of the Constitution of India[1] and the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, every child is entitled to free elementary and secondary level education, regardless of their social or economic standing and/or religious affiliation. However, the lack of awareness about the free nature of such educational opportunities has been the major reason many of the Musahar children have been deprived of the access to this right. It is unquestionable that education is not only an essential element for the child’s growth, but also essential for the progressive and indiscriminate development of the community, country and the global economic network as a whole.

Baring this sad fact in mind, MVK organized the following events to raise awareness among the children, their parents and the influential people of the community:

·         Meetings with over 200 parents and reputed local people, including heads of community;

·         The corner meetings used as a platform to advocate for issues such as  abolition of child labor and child marriage;

·         A meeting with the specialists on Child Rights, 100 influential people and the whole Musahar.

The event has received positive response form the whole community, as demonstrated by the sheer number of attendees and the enrollment figures. The enrollment of Musahar children in schools has increased by 10 percent since November 20th last year. This is a tremendous accomplishment in a community that has been continuously downtrodden by the lack of development. The effort of MVK will not go unnoticed as the figures of enrollment of Musahar children are bound to increase in the months to come.

[1] Article 21A of the constitution of India - The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.

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