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APRIL 2008 – MARCH 2009




The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a well
known document in the development paradigm which is widely adapted by many voluntary
organisations as a frame work in the implementation of programmes and projects for
children. Though organisations give much importance to ‘Child Rights’ at a micro level
they do tend to ignore the fact that the state is the primary stake holder to ensure every right
to its child citizens at a macro level. Yes UNCRC is an UN Convention, which primarily
fixes and deals with the responsibilities of state parties which exactly mean the
“Government” of every member country who have signed this convention.

India being a signatory to the UNCRC has specific responsibilities to fulfil its
duty in restoring the rights of its child citizens. Though there are efforts made by India in
protecting the rights of children, one has to admit that there are gaps in fulfilling these duties.
One has to recognise India’s role as the primary duty bearer in reaching out to millions of
children born in this country. Keeping the size of the country in mind, if India plays this role
much more effectively, that would address the issues affecting children at a macro level,
which in turn would bring life changing impact in the lives of those children who are left out
from the development plans. Whatever a voluntary organisation tries to address could only
produce very little result where as the Government machinery has the power and mandate to
bring large scale impact in the lives of millions of children. Thus the Campaign Against
Child Labour (CACL) and the Campaign Against Child Trafficking (CACT), the two nation
wide largest networks committed for the cause of children’s rights have decided to work
together with the frame work available in the UNCRC. Believing children’s innate capacity
to participate in matters concerning them, it has been decided to ensure child participation in
the process of preparing the alternate report.

It is worth mentioning that in India there were alternate reports prepared by

children in 1998 and 2003 which were well recognised by the United Nations’ Committee on
Convention on the Rights of the Child. The children represented in the 1998 delegation were
from individual organisations but in 2003 the committee invited two children representing
the National Movement of Working Children - India (NMWC-India) and listened to their
voices. These presiding initiatives ensuring child participation in the whole process and the
striking impact children brought in the earlier processes encouraged the two networks to
arrive at a decision to empower children in preparing an alternate report by children
themselves. It was decided to invite representatives from children’s organisations that are
facilitated by member organisations of CACL and CACT. A national level Training of
Trainers enabled the four facilitators from each state to carry out the process in their
respective states. Assistance was provided to children in terms of information, financial and
human resources and report compilation. Even though there were difficulties in the co-
ordination among children due to the vast spread of each state, children were able to put their
maximum effort and arrive at their report with fineness.



We, the 32 children (Annexure -1) represented 14 organisations had the opportunity to come
together at CESCI a training centre located in Madurai in a sylvan environment. The four
facilitators Arockiam *annan, Sakthi – Vidiyal, Selvam *akka CCRD, and Edwin annan,
Heal Movement facilitated the process and enabled us to achieve the objectives of this
consultation. Baskaran annan from CSED supported us with documenting this process
(Annexure -2). We also had Suresh Dharma annan and Jim annan with us who enabled us to
get into the process with clarity. Suresh Dharma annan worked closely with adults which
gave us the freedom to be on our own and also enabled the accompanied adults (Annexure -
3) to acquire skills to support us later in the process. We were briefed about the preparations
and planning done with regard to this process of preparing an alternate report to the UN
committee on CRC at Geneva. We could understand that CACL and CACT jointly organised
this consultation in Tamilnadu. Siluvai *Iyah, Convenor CACL – TN and Jim annan,
Convenor CACT – TN spoke to us at the inauguration and told us about the importance of
this meeting. We enjoyed the sessions which were participatory in nature and kindled our

*Annan – Brother; * Akka – Sister; Iyah – Respect for elders

The friendly environment enabled us to work together with a common goal, through which
we also made new friends. We were proud that we represented a wide range of children of
Tamilnadu. We felt happy that we could sit and reflect on our rights and review the progress
of CRC implementation in our state to identify the gaps and challenges that impede the
implementation of child rights in the state. Finally we also elected our representatives
through a democratic process to voice our rights at a higher level. The three days between
23rd and 25th May, 2008 were memorable days in our lives. We continued our journey as
child researchers to find the ‘real’. We were happy and proud for having engaged in this task.
But we were sad and overwhelmed with the kind of findings we arrived at. The adult
facilitators were of great support to us in providing moral support, appropriate information,
answering our load of questions and compiling our findings. We thank every one of them.
We would like to give a special thanks to Jim annan and Arockiam annan for their continued
encouragement and support in the post research documentation. They actually enabled us in
editing the piles of information that we collected, into a fine document that you are reading
now. We completed our task with a hope that this exercise would result in favour of every
child born in our country.


We were 32 children represented 14 organizations from 13 districts of Tamilnadu

participated in the process. We also belonged to various categories of children like, HIV
infected children, Tribal children, children with special needs, Dalit children, Migrant
children, children living in institutional care, street children, working children and children
affected by disaster. Most of us were in the age group of 13 to 16 years.


In this consultation we elected our representatives in a democratic way based on the criteria
collectively developed by us. These representatives were designated as ‘child researchers’
and expected to continue the process right up to the national level.


Article 1 – Age of the child:


Though the UNCRC clearly defines the child as a person below 18 years, India has not yet
made all the laws to reconcile with this definition. Many legislatures dealing with children
define the age of the child differently. This excludes many children from the purview of law
enforcement and pushes children into vulnerability and danger.


We consider that the age disparity is the core issue blocking our way in realising our rights.
We insist on the Government to take necessary steps to make amendments in the constitution
and other laws affecting children, in accordance with the UNCRC and protect every child
below the age of 18 and provide with adequate resources for their survival, development,
protection and participation.

Article 2 and 30 - Non Discrimination



Traditional practices discriminate girl children and over burden them with assigned stereo
type roles. There are schemes available with the state Government to promote girl child but
not implemented properly. Corruption is rampant in availing these schemes which makes the
public frustrated.

Girl children are not allowed to continue education after puberty. Girls are sent for contract
labour in Mills after 14 and exploited. Grooming them for marriage is openly practiced and
mills announce labour marriage schemes like ‘Sumangali’ for which families are attracted.

Girl children experience multiple layers of discrimination right from birth to education and
job opportunities. Eve teasing is very common which prevents girls stepping out their houses
for education and development. In the name of protecting girls, families tend to stop girls
going to school. Girl children are mentally disturbed through the discriminatory practices
and violence in the society.


The family is still recognised by the society as the duty bearer to provide and protect
children. The Government should enable the family unit to play this role effectively with
adequate resources. The Government should encourage and recognise initiatives that are
aimed at empowerment of girl children. Girl children should be provided with more
opportunities and parents should be rewarded for sending girls to schools and colleges.
Monitoring mechanisms have to be evolved by the labour department to stop exploitations
like ‘Sumangali scheme’.



Caste discrimination is practiced in the society which affects many children. At school Dalit
children are forced to clean the toilets. When children refuse to do they are beaten by the
teachers. Calling children by caste names is very common in the village schools. Children
are discriminated for their caste, parent’s occupation and living area. Our friends studying in
a popular school in Madurai shared experiences of teachers saying “why do you come to
school, instead you could go and do the traditional work”.

Article 4 – Implementation of UNCRC:


The Government has not yet taken adequate, appropriate measures to educate and implement
UNCRC. We have noticed that Government officials, police, teachers, media personal,
business houses, politicians, parents and community members do not have a clue of Child


Government has to take necessary steps to build awareness on Child Rights in various
segments of the society, schools and in Government officials. Mass media should be
sensitised and used for spreading the message on child rights.

Article 6 - Right to life, survival and development


According to the 2001 senses the juvenile sex ratio in Tamilnadu is 939 / 1000 male births
(0-6) years. Of Tamil Nadu’s 201 talukas (village blocks), 28 have juvenile sex ratio below
900 and six have below 800. In 16 districts, it was below 952 in 2004, less than the
worldwide accepted sex ratio.

Cradle baby scheme is in operation but not functioning effectively. The Scan centres are
aware of the Pre-conception and Pre natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of sex
selection) Act, 2003, but scan results are disclosed in a more subtle way. Implementation of
the Act is still a concern when there are reported cases of female foeticide.

News published in Dinamalar, a Tamil daily which reported an increase in female foeticide

Female infanticide is curtailed to a larger extent when compared to the past. Gender
sensitization is lacking among masses who still consider male child as a pride of the family
and female child as a burden to the family.


The Government is the primary duty bearer, should ensure stringent implementation of the
Pre-conception and Pre natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of sex selection) Act, 2003.
The Government machinery has to undertake large scale awareness campaign to sensitise the
parents and potential parents on gender equality.

Article 7 & 8 - Birth Registration:


Birth registration is encouraged by the Government. The local bodies are entrusted with the
responsibilities of birth and death.


We appreciate our Government’s efforts in encouraging birth registration which would

definitely ensure our identity and safety. The process of birth registration has been made
easy for our parents. The Government should move towards achieving 100% birth
registration in every block which would make ‘infanticide’ a history of the past.

Article 9 & 10 – Right to Family – Separation and reunification:


The Juvenile Justice (care and protection) Act 2000 was further amended in the year 2004
and 2006 with changes in favour of children. This is a welcome move but the
implementation of the Act is still in a pitiable condition. The children involved in crimes and
children in need of care and protection are separated which is really a positive leap. But the
Juvenile police handle children very badly and antagonise them. Here are testimonies given
by children who were in the Reception home run under the Juvenile Justice system.

“when I ran away from my home and landed in Madurai the police had beaten me before
handing over in the reception home” Perumal, 12 year old.

“My parents have died. I had run away from Kerala and reached Madurai. The police have
robbed my money and left me in the reception home. I have been staying in this home for
more than 7 months with out any action. It is sad that I could not continue my studies” Anis,
15 year old, Kollam Kerala state.

“My mother had beaten me and I ran away. The police had taken Rs.70 from me before
handing over me in the Reception Home. I am happy here. ” Manimaran, 15 year old,

“I could not understand anything in school. My father sent me for work with my brother. We
worked for long hours from 6.00 am to 12 midnight. My mother used to take the wages for
my work. I was handed over by the police at the Reception Home at Royapuram, Chennai.
The police had robbed Rs.100 from me. I had run away from the Royapuram home because
they had beaten me so badly. Nobody beats children in the Reception home in Madurai.”
Murugesan 15 year old, Thisayanvilai.

“I was just travelling with my brother to another place. The police had talked to us and
brought us to the Reception Home. I feel this is not fare on the part of the police. I still do not
understand why they brought us here. They have taken Rs.20/- from us” Duraisingam, 15
year old Thiruparankundram.


The Government is the duty bearer and need to appoint ‘child friendly’ police to care for us.
We propose that the police undergo training in Child Rights, Child laws and Child

Article 12, 13, 15 & 17 – Right to Participation:



We are not consulted for most of the decisions of the family. Even our clothes are chosen by
our parents. We are not encouraged to represent our family in functions. Only adults are
given that status. Children are forced to follow a particular religion that the family follows.
We are not provided information about other religion and our interest to follow other faith is
always condemned. .


We are not given the opportunity to elect the School Pupil Leader (SPL). The teachers and
the head of school decide the SPL. There are times we do not even know who this person is.
In many schools there is no SPL. The class leaders are chosen by the respective class
teachers and our opinion is not considered. Students who score more marks or students
showing authority are always chosen as the class leaders.

Schools do not have systems to listen to the complaints or suggestions of the pupil. We do
not get equal opportunity to participate in the programmes and competitions held at school.
Teachers choose students according to their whims and fancies. Most of the students do not
even get a single opportunity to participate in programmes during their school life.

We are not consulted for any of the programmes and functions held in our schools. We do
not have a say in the design of the school curricula. There is no consultative process available
in the state to include our voices in the design of the syllabus.


There is no space for children to voice their opinion in any of the matters discussed by the
community. We are just taken for granted. Recently the whole community living in
Melavaasal – Thideer Nagar area, in Madurai is uprooted by the Government and children
were not in any of the discussions and negotiations.

We are very much affected by this action and our wellbeing is at stake. We participate in the
festivals celebrated by the community. The child elements in the festivals are very minimal.
Children are perceived as the extension of the male members of the family. Our individual
identity is just ignored. Adults do not share information with us; the mass media is designed
for the adults to satisfy the adult needs.

In children’s organisations facilitated by the voluntary organisations working for the cause of
child rights, children are encouraged to participate in decision making in maters concerning
them. Government has not yet recognised children’s organisations and children’s initiatives.


Children do not have any space to participate in governance. The village panchayats do not
accept children to opine on matters concerning them. The Gramshaba do not recognise the
citizenship of children thus keep us away in any discussions. There are attempts made by
children to attend Gramshabas and we felt that Gramshaba is basically an adult structure and
the environment is not congenial for children to participate.


We are sad to find that none of the structures has the space for us to express our concerns.
Every stakeholder has the responsibility to recognise our ability and interest to participate in
the matters concerning us. The Government being the primary stake holder need to respect
our own initiatives and take steps to recognise children’s organisations. We don’t want to
attend boring meeting of adults but we’ll be happy to participate in child friendly platforms
where responsible adults would listen to us. One can not ignore the fact that we are 42% in
the population and our participation does matter.

School being the place where we spend much of our time, it needs to be revived as a arena
for us to express and experiment and not as a place for the teachers to exercise their power.

Article 18 & 26 – Measures to help parents ensure children’s rights


Anganwadi / Balwadi:

One Anganwadi centre has been catering to 1000 population in a rural / urban project and 700
population in tribal areas. In less populated areas parents are expected to go to the
neighbouring area to leave the children in the Anganwadi which does not look feasible as
many parents would go for work. Children are provided with supplementary meal on a few
days. Balwadi is not functioning in building with fine ventilation.

The place allotted for balwadis are small in size. Some of the buildings are not in safe
condition. Children do get simulation through games, songs and pictures. Health care is not
adequately provided. Though ICDS claimed to be the largest child development programme
of its kind in the world covering children of 0 – 6 category the malnourishment of children
belonging to this category still remain 45.9 % in 2006. Shockingly 70% of India’s slum
children are malnourished in comparison to the national average of 45.9 %. Only 10 per cent
of anganwadis are in urban areas though one-third of the poor are urban dwellers. Forty per
cent of urban slums are excluded from ICDS because they are illegal/unauthorised.

“It is not our fault for having born here”.


We appreciate the Government for taking initiatives in the implementation of programmes

for children between 0-6 years. It would be better if the quality of these programmes is
ensured through proper monitoring mechanisms. The gaps in the reach of the ICDS
programme has to be filled and every child born in Tamilnadu should get this coverage.
Neglecting the urban poor is condemned and should be changed immediately.

Article 23 – Children with Special needs:



Most of the disabled children experience neglect in the family. Their special needs are
totally neglected and their development is hampered. Girl children with disability experience
more discrimination and no opportunity is provided to continue education. Families do not
recognise children with special needs as part of the family. They are always neglected in the
family functions.

A child with special needs found deserted in Coimbatore

Schools do not have the infrastructure and facilities for disabled children with special needs.
Sports and games facilities do not exist for children with special needs. Many schools do not
have facilities like ramp, specially designed chairs and desks and disabled friendly toilets.
Children with special needs do not get appropriate education. The implementation of law for
the welfare of children with special needs is done in a horrendous way. There are schemes
available for the welfare of children with special needs. But availing such schemes involves
corruption and pushes the children away from the schemes.

Case Study:

Government Special school for Handicapped children, Villapuram, Madurai.11

The school infrastructure is not disabled friendly. The school functions in a two floor
building. The staircase is steep for the kids and there is no ramp attached to the stairs.
Children find it extremely difficult to climb the stairs.

The toilets are not designed for physically challenged children. Many children use their
hands to walk. Unclean toilets make the use of toilets very difficult and it also paves the way
for spreading of deceases.

There are not many equipments provided to support the physically challenged children. The
equipments supplied at times are in substandard quality and withered out.

The food provided in the school is in substandard quality. The nutrients to support the
children with special needs are not provided.

The school administration permits children to go for long holidays during the academic year.
Many children loose interest in education because they loose many classes and finally end up
in dropping out of the school. The school management do not care about this.


The infrastructure of the public utility is not disabled friendly. Cinema theatres, playgrounds,
buses, bus stands, Government offices, hotels exclude the disabled by the nature of the
infrastructure itself. Only now a few railway stations have disabled friendly facilities like
ramps, lifts and wheelchairs.

Children with special needs are called with nick names indicating their disability and they are
considered as a burden to the society.

Disabled children born in slums are not given any opportunities to realise their potential.
Poor families do not have the resources to take the children with special needs to places
which have the facilities for their development. The public transportation is not disabled
friendly which forces the children with special needs to go for private transportation which is
rather expensive.


We are shocked to find that the child with special needs are neglected, discriminated and
abused. We appeal to the Government that adequate measures are taken immediately to
safeguard the rights of children with special needs. Family units have to be sensitised for
protecting and providing the rights of children with special needs. It is the primary duty of
the Government to provide the families with adequate schemes for the welfare and security
of children with special needs. Media should be used excessively to sensitise the general
public on the rights of children with special needs.

Article 24 & 25 – Health and Sanitation:



Primary Health Centres are inadequate in numbers in comparison to the population and
distances of areas. The access to a PHC varies from a minimum of 3 km to a maximum of 10

The facilities available in the PHCs are inadequate for the population it serves. Many PHCs
do not have adequate equipments to provide quality treatment to people. Even in cities the
PHCs do not have basic facilities. In some hospitals doctors encourage people to go to
private hospitals. People are not treated with dignity in Government hospitals.

Pregnant women are tracked through village health nurses and anganwadi workers right up
to immunisation of infants. Lactating mothers do get health care through Government
programmes. Pregnant women do not get nutritious food which affects the child with low
birth weight.

The unclean living area and low standard of sanitation often makes the children sick. A two
year old girl child died due to diarrhoea at a place called Kannappar thidal in the capital city
itself. In Coimbatore there are reported cases of death of children due to cholera.

The immunisation programme of the Government is successful in reaching out to the huge
population. But still there are lapses which affect children. Jaundice, chicken pox and
Typhoid spread in a few seasons which affect children in a large scale. In Madurai a child
died due to chicken pox. In Thiruvallur a girl child called Kasamma was died of Jaundice and
a girl by name Monisha died of chicken pox.

The number of children infected with HIV is increasing. There are Government run or
sponsored awareness programmes on HIV/ AIDS. The reach of the programme to children
and adolescent children is very limited. There are reported incidents on discrimination
practiced by family, school and the community on children infected with HIV/ AIDS. The
treatment facilities for HIV infected children are available only in the district head quarters of
many districts.


We need total health protection under the Government programme. India being a welfare
state it can not be allowed to pass on the responsibility to the parents or just to the private
hospitals. Like the family cards (ration cards) Health cards should be provided for every
child born in this country. The Government has to increase the budget allocated for child
health to provide the health services with universal quality.



Most of the households do not have toilet facilities. Government schemes to provide toilet
facility to each household is not implemented effectively. Public toilets are not clean and
lack of maintenance with germicides leads to spreading of deceases. There are pay and use
toilets available in the cities which are maintained better than the public toilets. In rural
areas sanitation is totally inadequate and force people to soil open areas. This leads to
spreading of deceases. Many children are infected with tape worms which lead to

Even the cities do not have under ground drainage system. Sewage water flow in to the
streets which is the breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects. The waste
management in the state is done in a haphazard way and the living environment remains
unclean. Waste bins located in major roads are cleared once in 15 days.


We are ashamed of the waste management system of our country. The local Government has
to be empowered with adequate resources to tackle this situation. We realise that
urbanisation leads to many problems of this kind. It is the responsibility of the Government
to develop balanced development plans to prevent migration and lopsided growth.

Article 27, 31 – Adequate standard of living


Our parents do not get work on all days and they are mostly underemployed. Families have
limited resources which are not enough to fulfil our basic needs. The price hike does not
match the wages of our parents. Government employees are compensated with dearness
allowances which again end up in price hike. Most of the people are employed in the
unorganised sector and they do not get any benefits and social security from the Government.
The livelihood options in rural areas are very limited which forces families to migrate to
cities. Scavenging is still considered as a menial job and attracts very low wages. People
doing this job are living in appalling conditions.

Single parent families or women headed families face lot of hardships with inadequate
resources and lack of livelihood options. Children born into these families’ fall out of the net
and become easy prey to anti social elements at a very early age.


80% of families have family cards which are used to get civil supplies under ration scheme.
Rice is supplied at a very low rate which helps in providing children two meals a day. But
making curry is very expensive due to the enormous prise hike in pulses, vegetables, oil and
spices. Children just get food with carbohydrates with out other nutrients.


Getting water in some areas is a big problem. Water storages are chlorinated adequately in
cities but not in villages. We are forced to drink unsafe water. Children are not given priority
in the use of natural resources.


A report on urban poverty prepared by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty
Alleviation, Government of India (published in 2008) shows that, among the southern states,
Tamil Nadu has the highest percentage of its urban population below the poverty line (69.13
per cent) and the lowest percentage of self-employed people (39.8).
Many families are living in pavements and in congested tenements in slums. In rural areas
Dalit communities are living in colonies in the outskirts of the village mostly in the east. The
slums and colonies lack infrastructure facilities which show the caste discrimination prevail
in providing housing rights to the citizens of our country.
Slum dwellers are evacuated and displaced in support of city development plans made by the
town planning authorities.

fdT fhz KbahJ

Can not dream
fdT fhzr; nrhy;fpwPHfs;
cwf;fj;jpy; jhNd fdT tUk; You told us to ‘dream’
ehq;fs; cwq;fg; gpwe;jtHfs; my;yH People dream only when sleep
fdT fhz gpwe;jtHfSk; my;yH
ehq;fs; ,e;j ehl;by; gpwe;Jtpl;Nlhk; We are born not to sleep
vq;fs; chpikf;fhf cwf;fk; njhiyj;J tpl;Nlhk; We are born not to dream
Being born in this country
We have to be wide awake
To protect our rights

- Bharath Kumar

There is no play area available in most of the slum settlements. Children’s play parks are
available in some cities but with poor maintenance. In Madurai children of Thideer nagar
slum play on the railway track which is very dangerous.


The Government has the primary responsibility to improve the quality of life of its citizens.
We hear through media that India’s economic growth is good and the rulers are satisfied with
the growth rate. How can we feel proud about this when millions of children go hungry, live
on the streets, have to work for their livelihood? The Government has to take necessary
steps to make sure that this economic growth benefits the masses. We insist that India
remains a welfare state and poverty be truly eradicated from our land through appropriate
measures. Basic services have to remain in the public sector with adequate subsidy.

Article 28 & 29 – Right to Education:


Is this accessible to all?

In rural areas schools are located in 2-4 km radius. Government has given free bus pass to all
children and free cycles to children above 10th standard which has made the access possible
and convenient. Though free transport is provided the number of buses in a particular route
is limited. We have to travel with other passengers in congestion. The drivers and
conductors are not friendly with children which are a big problem we face everyday.

6 girl children got pushed out of a bus by the conductor on 8th August 2008

Equal educational opportunities – Inclusion

Sarva Shiksha Abiyan, free distribution of school books, uniforms, and stationary, evening
special coaching and scholarships aim at including the children from excluded communities
into the education fold. But the way this has been implemented needs critical review.

In some schools children are discriminated on the basis of caste. The children from Dalit
communities are provided with welfare with out any respect. “We are called ‘SCs’ in front
of other children in a demeaning way. We are made to feel small in front of others for
receiving these constitutional rights” a friend of us shared.

Private schools are mushrooming and parents get attracted towards these schools. In Private
schools the medium of instruction is English. There is vast range in the standard maintained
by these schools. Students studied in English medium schools are expected to have a margin
over the other students. Private schools exploit parents on the fact that most of the
Government run schools are not providing quality education and parental aspiration for their
children to speak in English. In reality most of the private schools are also rundown with out

Children in Tamilnadu study under four types of education system. This brings wide
disparity in the nature and quality of education. This brings discrimination in the job
opportunities provided later in our lives.

Free, compulsory, quality education:

Though education is said to be free Government schools collect a fee between Rs.160/- and
Rs.500/- Private schools including aided schools collect enormous fees which is not taken
serious by the education department of the Government. For computer education we need to
pay a special fee in the Government schools. Children are sent out of school for not paying
the fee prescribed by the school.

Tamilnadu claims being a model state in the implementation of noon meal scheme. But the
quality of the noon meal scheme is at stake. Stones and worms are found in the food served.
We are provided with two eggs per week.

Relevant and meaningful education:

Education is irrelevant to life and the teaching methodology is not interesting. It does not aim
at developing and moulding our personalities. Child Rights is not taught in schools.

The Activity Based Learning (ABL) is introduced in primary schools. But the teachers are
reluctant in following this method.

Opportunities for participatory learning are very minimal in the class rooms. We just
memorise lessons and expected to reproduce them in exams. The teaching methodology is
very boring. Teachers just read lessons from text books. Teachers do not attempt to use
interesting methodologies in teaching. They just make us to read and write.

There is no opportunity to learn traditional art forms. Schools do not teach children about
superstitious beliefs and their ill effects.

Teacher pupil ratio:

The official teacher pupil ratio is 1: 40. But in many city schools run by Government the
ratio goes up to 1: 80. Children do not get individual attention since the number is too big. In
the rural areas there are schools which have single or two teachers for five classes. Children
studying in these schools do not get the needed attention and finally end up in child labour.
These schools are way far away from the other schools which has at least one teacher per
class. Many schools do not have teachers for physical education.

Teachers just disappear during class hours. There are vacancies that are not filled in.
Teachers tend to think that teaching is a burden and they forget that their primary duty is to
teach. Animated teachers are very few in numbers and many teachers do not have the
aptitude and attitude to be a teacher. They’ll better fit in military or in dealing with

School infrastructure and systems:

Drinking water is not available in many schools.

There is no system available to children to share their complaints and concerns. The Parent
Teacher Association (PTA) is dysfunctional in many schools.

Many schools do not have any play area. Games and recreation are not provided in many
schools though two periods a week is allocated for games. These periods are used for
teaching other subjects. Equipments for games are not available in many schools.

The class rooms are not enough so a few classes are kept under the tree.

Scenarios in Coimbatore and Virudhunagar districts

Schools do not have fire prevention equipments. Our school is located near the railway track
which makes the environment very noisy.

Only in a few schools girls and boys have separate toilet facilities. In many rural schools
boys are asked to use the open area. Girls do not find it comfortable to use the school toilets
since there is no water provided in the toilets.

The school has library but access is denied for children in many schools.

Many schools do not have desks and benches for students. We sit on the floor and do our
work with difficulty.

Our school is very old and there is a possibility of falling down.

Health check ups are done once in a blue moon. There is no follow up made on the
diagnosis. We are not provided with information on health and hygiene.

Speaking in the mother tongue – Tamil is forbidden in the private English medium schools.
This is ridiculous in the state which is called as ‘Tamil’ Nadu. Children are penalised for
speaking in their mother tongue.

The school is located in an unclean area. It is stinking around here. In Thirupur school is
located amidst power looms which is very noisy.

Our class rooms are dark and dull

The scholarship money is taken by the school authorities. Some times we are paid only half
of the money sanctioned.

The school does not have infrastructure to support the special needs of disabled children.
The scope for integration of children with special needs is very limited in schools.

Counselling services are not provided in schools.

First aid kit is available in some schools but not maintained properly.

Learning environment in schools:

Corporal punishment is very common in schools which push out many children from the
school system. After the death of two children in Omaloor due to corporal punishment in a
private school, the Tamilnadu Government has removed Education Rule Number 51 which
permitted teachers to administer corporal punishment on children. But violence is removed
only in records but not in practice. Teachers do not believe in alternate methods of
disciplining children where as they totally believe in violence. There are incidents in which
children are beaten to black and blue. Here is an account of pain experienced by children
whom we interviewed.

“My friend’s hand was fractured by a teacher”.

“Physical education teachers behave like moral police in our school and they beat us like

“Children are forced to kneel down in the hot sun”.

“I could not stop the bleeding in my nose and knee when my teacher had beaten me at

Teachers use the class leaders to perpetuate violence on other students. They do the policing
for the teachers and administer corporal punishment on children.

Teachers use abusive language which attacks our self esteem. Punishments, impositions
(forcing children to write something from the book too many times), verbal abuse, penalty
and so many other methods used by teachers discourage children to continue schooling.

Teachers use children for run errands. This is very common in many schools. Children are
used to clean the vessels that teachers used to eat.

We are forced to carry loads of books and note books which come to 5 to 10 kg. The work
load in school is heavy.

Kuz;eif Irony

fy;tpf;fhf Fuy; nfhLj;Njhk;! We demanded education

fy;tpNa ek;kplk; gzk; Nfl;fpwJ Now education demands money
Rikapy;yh fy;tp Nfl;Nlhk; We asked for burden less education
fy;tpNa ,d;W Rikahfptpl;lNj! Now education itself has become a burden


Children studying in 10th and 12th standards are compelled to study all the time. They do not
get the opportunity to rest, relax and play. This taxes them heavily and some of them break
down after the results are published. Children attempting suicide or committing suicide is on
an increase due to pressure they experience in schools. There is no scope for participatory
learning in the present system.

Special needs of adolescent children go unnoticed. Adolescents are seen as a threat by the

Slow learners are discouraged and demoralised. Name calling is practiced by the teachers.
We are forced to do ‘home work’ which is heavy and sometimes unbearable. Every teacher
gives a home work for that particular subject. We spend the whole evening and night in
finishing the home work. Incompletion of home work would invite severe punishment
including sending away from school.

Teachers are found to be abusers, drunkards, and bad guys.

Reasons for having dropped from school – stated by child labourers

• Violence and corporal punishment in school

• Death occurred due to corporal punishment
• Forced to do menial jobs and run errands for teachers
• Teaching methodology is uninteresting and non participatory
• Education is not relevant and useful
• Verbal abuse by teachers
• Sexual abuse by teachers
• Not able to pay the fees and could not buy the materials needed.
• Could not bear the work load in the school and home work.
• The quality of primary education is in bad condition. I reached 8th standard with out
able to read and write in Tamil and to do simple mathematics. The foundation was
very weak and I could not continue education.
• Failing in a particular class take away the interest in school education.
• Parent’s addiction to alcohol is definitely a cause but for that the Government has to
be blamed.
Schools are privatised and the liquor shops are run by the Government.
What an irony?! Aha aha aha.....

Liquor shops run by the Government Schools run by private management

tpahghuk; tpahghuk; Business…. Business

chpikahd fy;tp ,d;W

fz;zPuha; khwptpl;lJ Right to education
eQ;rhd ghdq;fNsh Has turned into tears
jz;zPuha; Xbf;nfhz;bUf;fpwJ Toxic beverages
Have flown like rivers

- Jeyakumar

Reported cases of violence and death in schools in Nagapattinam district (Annexure 5)

• A boy called Vinod was wounded by the teacher on 05.03.2007 and a case was
• On the Republic day (26.01.2006) the following boys M.Iyyappan (14), K. Iyyappan
(14), K. Iyyappan (14) Muthukumar (13) Bala Sundaram (11) were injured by the
head master with an iron rod.
• On 17.07.2007 a girl child called Kanaga (14) was raped in the school lavatory.
• On 26.05.2007 a girl child called Subashini (14) died and several got injured when
roof of the school collapsed.


Our suggestion under this head would run in to several kilometres. Education is the primary
responsibility of the Government and the Government needs to take serious note of the points
given under ‘situation’. We would like to point out the major ones as follows. The budget
allocation for education has to be increased considerably with special focus on primary
education. We believe that this would result in the improvement in infrastructure of the
schools. There should only be one education system under which every child born in this
county would benefit with same standards. We strongly recommend that education remain in
the public sector and let our Government spend money on children which is only an
investment and not expenditure. Teachers should be selected on the basis of their aptitude
and attitude for the job. Corporal punishment should be totally removed from schools.

ePA+l;ldpd; %d;whtJ tpjp Newton’s Third law

gs;spf;F nrd;wNjh ehq;fs; gbf;f We gone to school to learn

ePq;fs; epidj;jNjh vq;fis XLf;f But you want to rule us with power
gs;spf; $lq;fspy; vz;zpf;if FiwfpwJ The number in schools are decreasing
njhopw;$lq;fspy;; Foe;ij njhopy;Kiw The child labour system is flourishing
- Bharath Kumar

Article 32 – Child Labour:


Schools fail and the child labour system flourishes. Children work for more than 12 hours.
Children start working at tender age as low as 8. They are exploited and paid very low
wages. Children dropping out from school pursue this as an option for development. Only a
few voluntary organisations work with child labourers and provide them rehabilitation
measurers. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act mostly deals with children
below 14 years, whereas children above 14 are totally left out in the schemes for
rehabilitation. The possibility for continuing education has very feeble scope. The term
“Regulation” legitimises child labour system and do not allow the enforcement authorities to
look beyond the legislature. The age of the child is always disputed by different legislations
in different ways. The term “hazardous” and “non hazardous” also misleads when every
work is hazardous for children. Child labourer’s health is at stake because of the health
hazards prevailing in the work place. Children are often infected with respiratory deceases
and skin deceases. Working children tend to get into drugs due to a permissive environment
they live in. Child labourers are not rehabilitated under the Juvenile Justice Act 2000.

Major occupations in which children are involved in:


Construction labour, domestic labour, restaurants and eateries, hotels, workshops, rag
picking, sales boy/girl, snack industry in other states, garment industry in other districts,
agriculture etc.,


Fishing, Collecting shells, Cleaning shells, sea food processing, eateries, coir industry etc.,


Domestic work, hawking, rag picking, restaurants and eateries, hotels, workshops


Fishing and allied jobs, domestic work, agriculture, construction work, power looms and
garments in other districts.


Picking flowers, cattle rearing, farm work, brick kiln, agriculture, eateries, workshop, cattle


Knit wear industry, power looms, dyeing, workshop, construction work, restaurants and
eateries, hotels, agriculture etc.,


We are sad to find that many of our friends have to work to make out a living. We feel that
prevention is better than cure. Though the Government puts the blame on the parents for not
sending the children to school, we are sure that it is the primary responsibility of the
Government to provide the parents with adequate living standards so that they do not send
children to work. The Government has to make necessary steps to amend the Child Labour
(prohibition and regulation) Act 1986, in compliance with the Juvenile Justice (Care and
Protection) Act 2000. This would bring a major break through in the lives of invisible
children between 14 and 18 years of age. We propose to the Government that a holistic
rehabilitation plan could be designed with children’s participation and to implement the same

Article 33 – 39 – Right to Protection:


Violence in Family:

Children are beaten by the parents and other family members for varied reasons. The main
reason stated is ‘to discipline children’. Interviewed children shared experiences that include
pinching, beating with hands, beating with stick, kicking, throwing objects, hitting on the
head, slapping and punching. Verbal abuse including the use of obscene words is very
common which hurts children very much. Comparing children with other children is
commonly used to putdown children. There are experiences in which children felt that their
house was totally unsafe for living. A few children had to run away from their homes for
their safety. Girl children on the streets face lot of problems than the boys. Children living
on the street become easy prey to life threatening deceases like HIV/AIDS. Street children
engage in begging or prostitution or any other anti social acts for their livelihood.

Case study of Perumayan (Name is changed to protect identity)

Perumayan was pledged by his father for Rs.5000/- to a farm owner. Perumayan was given
the job to look after cattle in the farm. He worked for more than 14 hours with out adequate
food and leisure. After a few months this farm owner sold him to another farm owner for
Rs.10, 000/- When Perumayan’s father went to see his son he was told that Perumayan had
ran away from the form. Perumayan’s parent’s approached a voluntary organisation for help.
A Habeas corpus petition was filed in Madras High court’s Madurai Bench which ordered the
police to produce Perumayan in the court. When perumayan was brought to the court by the
police he refused to go back to his parents fearing exploitation and selling him again. He is
handed over to a voluntary organisation for care and protection. Now Perumayan continues
his education and participates in programmes designed for children.

Child Marriages practiced by families:

Girl children are totally controlled by the families and their mobility is curtailed and
restricted. Girls are given in marriage at a tender age between 14 and 17. This is not
perceived as child marriage by the communities.

Adolescent pregnancy is common in a few communities. Government see this as a private

affair of people and no action is taken against people who practice child marriage.

In Cuddalure district a 15 year old girl came to school with the sacred thread tide forcibly.

Case Study from Thiruvallur district

In Thiruvallur district, in a village called Puliyankulam child marriage is excessively

practiced. Children between the age of 10 and 18 are given on marriages. The community
feels proud being able to practice a traditional custom of their village. A girl by name
Parvathy was given in marriage at the age of 10 and now she is 11 year old. Vijaylakshmi got
married at 15 years of age. Aruna got married before 18 years of age. Shanthi aged 14 got
married recently.

Child Protection Initiatives by the Government:

Government has initiated Child Welfare Committees (CWC) almost in every district.
Juvenile Justice Boards (JJB) are limited in numbers. Child Line (1098) is functioning in
major cities. Help lines (1091) are with women police stations. Children homes, Reception
homes and rehabilitation programmes for street children are in place. The way these bodies
are constituted by Government and their functioning need critical review and monitoring.


We are sure that the Government is the primary duty bearer to protect the child citizens of
our country. The allocation done in the budget is in disproportion to the child population of
our country. We propose that adequate funds been allocated for child protection so that
every child born in India is protected. A comprehensive law should be evolved to protect
children under every sphere of the society. The family also has a greater role in protecting

Article 42 – 45 – CRC Reporting:


Government has not taken any steps to build awareness on Child Rights. Even the
Government officials do not know that India is a signatory to the UNCRC. Teachers are not
aware of Child Rights which becomes a major setback in safeguarding the welfare of
children. Primary stake holders like, Police, Officials involved with child care and protection
like the health department, social welfare department and education department do not know
anything about Child Rights or UNCRC. Only the social defence department has taken some
effort in building awareness on Child Rights at a higher level. But it has not reached the


We do not want to make any further comments as it is mandatory for the Government to
present a periodic report to the UN committee on Convention on the Rights of the Child.

jpUj;jk; Njit Needs correction

rhrdj;jpy; ifnaOj;jpl;lJ ePq;fs;
Mdhy; ,d;Dk; flj;jg;gLfpNwhk; ehq;fs; You have signed the convention
J}z;fs; vd;W vq;fis mioj;jJ ePq;fs; But we are still trafficked
Mdhy; ,d;Dk; Fg;ig nghWf;fpfsha; ehq;fs; You have called us the ‘pillars’
mwpf;ifia rkHgpj;jJ ePq;fs;
Mdhy; mij jpUj;jp mikg;Nghk; ehq;fs;. But we just remain as rag pickers
You have submitted the report
But we are going to correct it now

-Bharath Kumar

Annexure-1 Profile of Participants:
1. M.Divya Bharathi 14 Girl AHM Trust Theni
2. J.Vijay 13 Boy AHM Trust Theni
3. S.Sarankumar 12 Boy AROKKIYA AGAM Theni
4. S.Malini 12 Girl AROKKIYA AGAM Theni
5. B.Vennila 14 Girl CCRD Thiruvallur
6. L.Ranjith Kumar 13 Boy CCRD Thiruvallur
7. M.Venkatesh 16 Boy CEDAR Tuticorin
8. M.Kumar 15 Boy CEDAR Tuticorin
9. R.Sathyamoorthy 13 Boy CSED Coimbatore
10. B.Malliga 16 Girl CSED Coimbatore
11. V.Logeswari 14 Girl GRASSROOTS Kanchipuram
12. K.Karthik 15 Boy GRASSROOTS Kanchipuram
13. M.Sugan 15 Boy HEAL Kanyakumari
14. S.Iswarya 13 Girl HEAL Kanyakumari
15. S.Manikandan 13 Boy HOPE Pudhucherry
16. V.Priyanka 13 Girl HOPE Pudhucherry
17. N.Amsaraj 16 Boy KARUNALAYA Chennai
18. G.Gayathri 14 Girl KARUNALAYA Chennai
19. V.Karthika 16 Girl MACT Trichy
20. K.Ranjitham 14 Girl MACT Trichy
21. B.Jegan 15 Boy NEEDS Virudhunagar
22. K.Kavitha 13 Girl NEEDS Virudhunagar
23. P.Backiya 12 Girl RDC Krishnagiri
24. K.Balakrishnan 17 Boy RDC Krishnagiri
25. A.Arun 12 Boy YMCA school for the Madurai
hearing impaired
Govt. school for Madurai
26. T.Ayyanar 15 Boy
handicapped children
27. V.Vanitha 14 Girl SNEHA Nagappattinam
28. K.Sathyan 13 Boy SNEHA Nagappattinam
29. P.Preethi 14 Girl VCRMC/o. Vidiyal Madurai
30. S.Bharat Kumar 13 Boy VCRMC/o. Vidiyal Madurai
31. J.Pravin 14 Boy VHAK Kanyakumari
32. T.Mary Anusha 14 Girl VHAK Kanyakumari

District, Age & Sex wise distribution of the Child Participants

AGE GROUP 12 Yrs 13 Yrs 14 Yrs 15 Yrs 16 Yrs 17 Yrs Dist.

DISTRICT Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Boys Girls Boys Total
Chennai 1 1 2
Coimbatore 1 1 2
Kanchipuram 1 1 2
Kanyakumari 1 1 1 1 4
Krishnagiri 1 1 2
Madurai 1 1 1 1 4
Nagapattinam 1 1 2
Pudhucherry 1 1 2
Theni 1 1 1 1 4
Thiruvallur 1 1 2
Pudhukottai 1 1 2
Tuticorin 1 1 2
Virudhunagar 1 1 2
Sub Total 2 2 6 3 1 8 5 2 2 1
Grand Total 4 9 9 5 4 1

Annexure -2

Trainers & Organisers


1 D.Arockiam 35 Male Sakthi - Vidiyal Madurai
2 N.Selvam 44 Female CCRD Chennai
3 S.Edwin Samuel 21 Female HEAL Kanyakumari
4 Suresh Dharma 50 Male Black Theatre Chennai
5 Y.Siluvai Vasthiyan 59 Male HEAL Kanyakumari
6 C.Jim Jesudoss 41 Male Sakthi - Vidiyal Madurai
7 C.Nambi 45 Male CSED Coimbatore
8 M.Baskaran 34 Male CSED Coimbatore

Annexure -3

List of Elected Child Researchers


1 L.Ranjith Kumar 13 Boy CCRD Thiruvallur
2 M.Venkatesh * 16 Boy CEDAR Tuticorin
3 B.Malliga 16 Girl CSED Coimbatore
4 S.Iswarya 13 Girl HEAL Kannyakumari
5 N.Amsaraj 16 Boy Karunalaya Chennai
6 V.Karthika 16 Girl MACT Pudhukottai
7 P.Backiya 12 Girl RDC Krishnagiri
Govt. school for
8 T.Ayyanar * 15 Boy Madurai
handicapped children
9 V.Vanitha 14 Girl SNEHA Nagappattinam
10 S.Bharat Kumar 13 Boy VCRM C/o. Vidiyal Madurai

* M.Venkatesh left the contact organisation in Tuticorin district and could not participate in
the follow-up actions of child researchers. T.Ayyanar is a boy with special needs and we
were very particular that he is part of our team of child researchers.

Annexure -4

List of Adults accompanied the Child Participants


1 R.Vijaya 33 Female AROKKIYA AGAM Theni
2 T.Nadhiya 19 Female GRASSROOTS Kanchipuram
3 K.Durga Devi 21 Female NEEDS Virudhunagar
4 M.Ramya 24 Female CEDAR Tuticorin
5 M.Vijayalakshmi 36 Female AHM TRUST Theni
6 I.Latha 33 Male HEAL Kanyakumari
7 M.Devaraj 33 Male RDC Krishnagiri
8 K.Rajani 31 Female VHAK Kanyakumari
9 E.Jayalakshmi 29 Female HOPE Pudhucherry
10 S.Poonkodi 22 Female CSED Coimbatore
11 R.Vijayarani 32 Female SNEHA Nagappattinam
12 I. Caroline 30 Female MACT Pudhukottai
13 R.Lakshmi 32 Female CCRD Thiruvallur
14 J.Suresh 27 Male KARUNALAYA Chennai

CASE STUDIES (Annexure 5)



Subashini (14) – Death Due to Roof Collapsed in School Building

Subasini (14) years she is a student of Sri Bharathi Matriculation School. On 26.05.07
special classes were conducted for those students who were going to the 11 to 12th std. After
the special classes were over the students and the teachers standing in front of the school
building near the entrance suddenly the roof of the school collapsed. Subasini was Death
died due to the collapsed of the roof in schools. At present FIR was registered Tanjore
police station.


Case -2

Vinod (05.03.2007) Pudhupalli – Grievously Injury due to the corporal punishment

Vinod (12) belongs to Dalit community; He is a student of panchayat union school at

Thirukannangudi village of Kilvelur Taluk, Nagapattinam district. Vinod molested by his
teacher, vinod was punished for not cleaning plates, which the Headmaster used to consume
food, and for not washing the Head Masters to wheelers.

On 05.03.07 Head Manivannan grasped the ears of Vinod and beat him. Because of this
blood started oozing out of Vinod ears. Because of this he lost his ability to hear. Then
Vinod was admitted nearly 7 days in Nagai Hospital.

Case -3

Kodiyakkarai Vedharaniyam Taluk

M.Iyyappan (14), K. Iyyappan (14), K. Iyyappan (14) Muthukumar (13) Bala Sundaram (11)

In the Kodiakarai Government Higher Secondary School at Vedharanyam have

approximately 378 students and six teachers. Out of these 6 teachers the Parents Teacher
Association has appointed 2 teachers, with enthusiastic students and encouraging teachers
this school has secured 100% pass consecutively for four years.

On 26.07.2007 Republic day was celebrated. In this function the headmaster who was
negligent attacked five children with iron rod. The injured children were admitted in the
hospital and a complaint was filed in the Vedharanyam Police Station. By the anarchic
activity of the headmaster the children were affected.

The children had come to school by 7.00 am for the Republic day Celebrations on 26.01.07.
The teachers had also come by 7.00 am. A circular had been sent to all the classes regarding
the next day’s programme. Hence the children had come by 7.00 am. The reason for this is
every year during the Republic day and the Independence Day the parents and the Panchayat
board members are invited and the function is celebrated well.

But after this headmaster Ganesan was appointed here no such occasions were celebrated by
inviting the members of the parents teacher association. This time till 10.00 am no one
hoisted the flag, neither the headmaster nor some others. As it was getting late we asked the
councillor to hoist the flag. The councillor came and hoisted the flag. The head master was
speaking for a long time. The sixth standard students were making noise. When they were
asked why they were making noise they replied that they were hungry. The students
complained to him that they were hungry. But he ignored it. After this he had asked them if
they would die if they do not have their breakfast. Hence the children refused to tae the
sweets. The head master once again had used abusive language against the students. Others
and I tried to pacify the headmaster and the students. The headmaster became severely angry
and went and locked himself in his room. We were afraid that he could do something to
himself hence we knocked his door again. The students were also shouting.

All on a sudden the headmaster opened the door a started attacking he students with an iron
rod. When tried to prevent him he verbally abused us. We took the injured students to the
hospital and gave a complaint in the police station. The headmaster caused mental agony to
the students who are capable of studying well. Moreover he was not giving the inventive
meant for me for more than six months. The teacher told so about the headmaster who
tortured him.


Case - 4

Kanaga (14)

Kanaga was brought to School lavatory and raped by the accused. Case was charged on
17.07.07 and taken on file PRC No 51/07 in the court of JM, Thruthuraipoondi. Case was
posted to 31.12.07 for appearance of the accused.