Nine Is Mine
With Jantar Mantar formally closed for protests until the end of Lok Sabha elections, there was yet an unusual group that came to put forward their election agenda for all contesting parties to take into account - children.
From various schools around the city, they shared their vision for a safe and clean world for all.
Ten-year old Sagar and his friend, studying in a school on Hanuman Road in central Delhi, who used to perform circus tricks on streets to earn money, are some of the children participating in the rally organized by Pratyek, which means 'each one'.
(Sagar and friend)
Pratyek is a non-profit organization that networks with schools and child rights groups across the country to work beyond socio-economic boundaries on shared, common agendas for equality and safety.
Inspired by Nelson Mandela, the organization is convening the NINE IS MINE campaign that is of and for children calling for 9% of the country's GDP to be committed to education and health as promised by the Indian Government in 2004.
Pratyek has been holding Inclusive National Children's Parliaments across the country, that has Tannu Kina, a school student in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh as its Prime Minister embodying, she says in her message: ''inclusion, gender equality and equity as non-negotiables''.
(Children braving the heat!)
In their Manifesto - VOTE - Voice of the Empowered (Kids), they put forward the need for every individual in the country to get nutritious food, clean water, quality education, and healthcare. they also list out the importance of saving our forests and adopting sustainable energy resources.
Manisha and Priya from government schools in central Delhi speak enthusiastically about the need to protect nature - ''we need to worry about it'' - they assert. Some senior students of Bal Bharti Public School from Rohini in west Delhi are another group of participants, who are accompanied by their biology teacher Ms. Pooja. She is convinced about the importance of children's participation at such events.
(Students from Bal Bharti School, Rohini)
(Manisha, Priya & Manisha, NP Sr. Secondary School, Gole Market)
''We are all a part of the Ecology Group in school and yes, these children will think of change and then persuade others,'' she says.
This initiative is part of the Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (Don't Break Your Promise Campaign) of 3500 civil society organizations from around the country who want to call government's accountability to end poverty, social exclusion, and discrimination. India has a quarter of the poor of the world who also face poor social mobility opportunities.
Nine is Mine wants focus on the “last child” with all sections of children - privileged and from excluded communities - working together to find common solutions. “Child rights abuses anywhere are a concern for children everywhere”, and they hope that all political parties will honor the commitment to these concerns too.