Tales of Inspiration: Young Visionaries at Work – Railway Children India

Tales of Inspiration: Young Visionaries at Work

Children are teeming with ingenuity, creativity and plenty of fire in the belly. The many miraculous tales one hears of children’s accolades, inventions, daredevilry and enterprise are less surprising, more inspiring. Bringing to you a host of such inspiring stories is this fiery list below. Comprising amazing stories published by the good folks of The Better India—a digital media platform—this list promises to be your daily dose of motivation, knowledge and good ol’ positivity. Read on.

1. Turning Adversity into Opportunity, 15-YO Supports Children with Type 1 Diabetes

The dull days of school-from-home turned despairing for Divaa when her 9-year-old brother Surya was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Since his parents were doctors, Divaa’s brother had access to good healthcare; however, his diagnosis shed light on the stigma surrounding diabetes. The sheer fact that her baby brother could be affected by a disease that is typically associated with adults shocked Divaa, but also gave her a clear vision of the burning cause she wanted to champion.

Having joined the Future Leaders Program by One Million for One Billion, Divaa initiated Project Surya. With this initiative, she aims to eliminate the gap in quality of care that underprivileged children receive, along with supporting their mental health concerns. Run by crowd funding and other fundraising events, Project Surya conducts awareness programs where endocrinologists, dieticians and other doctors educate adolescents about managing diabetes effectively. So far, Project Surya has successfully reached out to over 100 families of diabetic children in Karnataka.

2. Emerging from the Shadows of Abuse, 17-YO Surjeet Eradicates Alcoholism and Child Labour from his Village

Hailing from a house where abuse by his drunk father was a regular affair, Surjeet lived in the company of alcoholism. Forever living in an inebriated state, Surjeet’s father forced him to do child labour and feed the family. Beating all odds and with the help of his grandparents, however, Surjeet not only secured formal education but also went on to join the Bal Mitra Gram (BMG) Programme, an initiative of the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF).

Having seen the ill effects of the several thekas in his village, Surjeet decided it was time for them to vanish. Gathering close to 100 children like him, who had witnessed the devastating effects of alcohol, Surjeet approached the gram panchayat to conduct raids in these thekas. He also went ahead and secured employment for the theka owners. For his astounding valour, Surjeet was conferred with the Diana Award in 2020.

3. Identifying the Basic Right of Potable Water, 16-YO Jayant Solves a Long-Drawn Crisis

In the metropolitan city they inhabited, Jayant and his group of friends came to know about the residents of Rasoolpura, the biggest slum community of the city. Home to over 100,000 underprivileged families, this community witnessed the everyday struggle of securing clean drinking water. Jayant and his friends noticed that owing to the unclean water, members of the community, especially children would routinely fall ill.

Witnessing their plight and the breach of a fundamental human right urged Jayant and his friends to start SHUDH—a collective of class 9 student to class 11 students, who raise money through crowdfunding to purchase water filters for these families. Soon corporations and other organizations reached out SHUDH to distribute more filters among remote communities in the city.

4. Campaigning One Home at a Time, 16-YO Rohini Rids Her Native of Open Defecation

The residents of the distant hamlet of Nandgaon have a teenage girl to thank for making their quaint town open defecation free. It wasn’t far ago when the 100 homes of this village had a singular toilet to share, which pushed many to defecate openly. When young, Rohini was among the other village residents who would not use a toilet, but when she began menstruating, the importance of a toilet dawned upon her.

Rohini began by approaching her grandfather who was also the sarpanch of the village. Habitat for Humanity India, an NGO, soon joined Rohini and her grandfather’s drive for an open-defecation—free village, which helped them install toilets.

5. Stumbling upon Child Rights Violations, Revathi Made it Her Passion Project

Although hailing from an underprivileged family, Revathi and her sister were lucky to have received the opportunity to pursue further studies in their grandparents’ hometown Madanapalle. Here Revathi had access to higher education, but she felt her freedom being robbed from her under the many restrictions put by her grandparents. Soon, however, she met officials of a child rights NGO, and she found the one purpose that would set her free to follow her goals.

Participating in each of the numerous activities held by the NGO, Revathi learnt about child rights and the many ways they are violated. Matching her enthusiasm and her will to contribute more to the cause, the NGO too began roping her in for more and more activities. Right from acting in street plays and attending capacity building trainings to becoming a child resource person and conducting sessions on child rights at nearby schools, Revathi has now transformed into a role model for her community.

6. Moulding her Love for Colours into a Worthwhile Cause, 11-YO Aanya Contributes to the Child Rights Movement

The notable NGO Child Rights and You (CRY) received a request they had to deny—a donation cheque from an 11-year-old Aanya. Not being able to take contributions from children her age, the organization refused to take her contribution, but that only pushed Aanya to do more.

She came up with the brilliant idea of painting and selling her precious paintings to raise money for child rights support. Although she finds it difficult to part with paintings, especially those with her most favourite element, flowers, she displays maturity beyond her age knowing that she can always paint more. At their Make for CRY event, Aanya’s astounding paintings raised a whopping amount for the cause.

7. Voicing Their Concerns for Change, Children Seek Dialogue with Political Candidates in West Bengal

They may not form a division of the vote bank, but these children are aware of their rights, issues and the place where they seek resolution. When politicians visited their communities, they met with these children with chocolates and gifts in hand. To the surprise of the politicians, however, the children returned the chocolates and gifts saying we want the drain to be cleaned regularly instead.

Some of the other pertinent issues raised by the children included curbing the growing menace of child marriage, improvement of educational facilities and protection from trafficking among others.

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