Present day challenges like inequalities, poverty, corruption, terrorism, unemployment, lack of basic humanity, disease, casteism, communalism , atrocities against women, children and the socially and economically weak are a direct result of the lack of basic human relationships among people and people’s (at individual level) active participation in governance. To address these challenges starting at the level of Rasulpura, we promote a platform for children where they can cultivate basic human relationships among themselves in their own neighborhood and learn the importance of children’s participation in self-governance through a program called “Children’s Parliament”. By educating, organizing and empowering them, the much needed social change will be achieved.
All the children between 6 to 14 years in a neighborhood form a parliament, irrespective of their caste, community, race, social and economical status or their educational status. Every child in the particular neighborhood is an equal member of the said Parliament.
While undergoing a diverse range of trainings they elect various ministers among themselves, like their prime minister, home, finance, education, health ministers etc etc through a consensus and objection less election process. Each member is responsible for something. These parliaments will be networked by representation at village, panchayat, block, district, state and national levels. The children also undergo trainings in the actual functioning of the govt., its various departments, schemes available etc etc.
Slowly, being guided by mentors from the community and from BHUMI, they start convening in formal parliamentary meetings once a week and discuss any matters or problems from their own community put forward by each minister and if need be, they chart out action plans, methods and time frame for its implementation on ground. Mind you this is real work on ground not a classroom role play.
In a first of its kind initiative in the city, Children’s Parliament - Hyderabad chapter was launched by BHUMI on Children’s Day 2009 with one batch of 18 children belonging to the Pochamma temple basti in Rasoolpura, Hyderabad. The parliament conducted a swearing in ceremony of the ministers. The event was attended by local politicians and Mr. Joseph Rathnam, the Founder of the Children’s Parliament Movement.
BHUMI has structured a year-long training program for the first batch of CP to educate and support them in their roles and give them the opportunity to groom themselves into responsible human beings and future leaders. The children are presently undergoing training on life skills and functional aspects of Children’s Parliament (CP).
A mentor belonging to the same community is attached to the parliament who supervises and facilitates the batch. This mentor is also being groomed to become a life skills trainer for young children and an expert on CP.
Be hooked on for more on Children’s Parliament in the later editions!
Related News stories:
Hear the young voices of change - The Hindu - 29-09-2009