The Department of Social Work at the Coimbatore campus invited children from special schools of the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) in Coimbatore to the Amrita campus on November 2, 2012.
NCLP is implemented by the Indian Ministry of Labour and Employment to rehabilitate children working in hazardous occupations through special schools that provide not only education and vocational training, but also nutritious meals, health care and a monthly stipend.
The aim is that these children will eventually enroll in regular schools and colleges, after gaining the needed skills in the special schools.
Forty children from the Shreemurgan Nagar Special School, Goundinagar Special School and Edyerpaliam Special School gained exposure to the world of higher education during their visit to Amrita.
“It is the right of every child to be educated and there are provisions under the law of our country to ensure free and compulsory education. And it is the duty of civil society, community and state as a whole to protect the rights of the children – rights of participation, protection, survival and development,” explained N. Nagalingam, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work
Addressing the little visitors, he said, “Children, life is never a bed of roses; struggles, challenges and hurdles are inevitable. In such a situation, giving up is not the right thing to do. Every child should work towards the goal and fruits of the hard work will surely follow.”
In an interactive session with Mr. Kanagraj, Field Work Coordinator, Department of Social Work, the visiting children shared their positive experiences with NCLP.
“We get books, school bags, lunch box and other playing items,” shared a child, enthusiastically.
Children also toured the Amrita campus. “We are thrilled to visit the campus, especially the aerospace area and the swimming pool,” they happily stated.
Competing in games and cultural contests such as singing, dancing, drawing and recitation, they bagged several prizes. Children from the Goundinagar Special School won the most number of prizes.
“We enjoyed the food and also had fun participating in the cultural events,” the children stated.
The visit was funded by the National Service Scheme, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India. Mr. Vijay Kumar, Director, NCLP, also participated.
Second-year students of MSW (Master of Social Work), Jijo Mathew and Moumita Khati, prepared the action plan for the visit as part of their course work.
“These underprivileged children come from a lower socio-economic stratum. They are often grossly deprived of the most basic amenities of life to which every child is entitled. Coming to our campus surely boosted their morale and instilled a sense of confidence in them. The smiles on their faces were worth all the effort taken towards making this event a reality. The practice of engaging children in the labour market is a social evil. It deprives a child of his or her childhood and severely hinders the developmental process of the child,” the duo explained.
“Our main objectives were to encourage the children, to showcase their hidden talents and educate them about state interventions for protecting their rights and eradicating child labour,” they underlined.
November 17, 2012
Department of Social Work, Coimbatore