Monday, August 28, 2006

NBD Ramanagara

Notebook drive, a DSF initiative: Giving notebooks to govt. school children. On 19th & 22nd Aug, 5,500 notebooks were given to 1500 students in 19 primary rural schools around Ramnagara. On 19th, a gang of 30 volunteers, lotz from Accenture, distributed the books. A few schools were closed because of 'Nalkne shravan shanivaara', and these were covered on 22nd Aug. The pics, shot by Sunand, tell the story.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Right to Education bill

Hi Friends!

The one ray of hope for Indian children - the Right to Education Bill was recently disowned by the central govt. This is a major setback for our Education System. Please sign the petition to demand justice and the Right to Equitable education for millions of our children.
Every child between the ages of 6 to 14 years has the right to free and compulsory education. This is as per the 86th Constitution Amendment Act to the Article 21A of the Indian Constitution in 2002. The Right to Education bill seeks to give effect to this amendment.

  • The government schools shall provide free education to all the children and the schools will be managed by school management committees (SDMC).
  • Private schools shall admit at least 25% of the children in their schools without any fee.
  • The National Commission for Elementary Education shall be constituted to monitor all aspects of elementary education including quality.
    • Check for the complete Bill.

      Current Scenario in 2006:
      • The Bill has been abandoned by the Central government on the pretext of lack of resources, which is unreasonable since the budget for the bill is estimated to be merely Rs 4,36,000 cr.
      • The people of this nation are being betrayed by not being given the Right to Free and Compulsory Education through Central Government legislation.
      • Two points – 25% quota in private schools and the National Commission in the Bill have already been withdrawn as per the latest draft of the Bill sent to the states by the centre.
      Several National & State level networks – CACL, SAFE, CACT, BGVS, SFI etc have come together to form an alliance called "People's Campaign for Right to Education". This Alliance will take several steps to oppose this move by the Govt. The immediate action solicited from us is to sign this online petition prepared by an Alliance partner ILP and spread the word to as many Indians across the world to gather support for this campaign.

      Please sign the petition at

      Maitreyee Kumar

      Friday, August 04, 2006

      Are we in Agreement ?

      Advocacy... Oh my god... We are not ready for it. We are a small organization concentrating on the issues in front of us rather than looking at the macro level matters and it’s the biggies who can do that. No staff to do that though we believe in advocacy and lobbying. These are the reactions of a typical non government organization when it comes to advocacy and lobbying. This is a disturbing scenario as Non Government Organizations get into relationships with their immediate surroundings like donors and agencies that they work directly rather getting into the scheme of things like policies or decisions that affect their interventions.

      It’s the responsibility of any good Non profit to get into advocacy and size or age of the organisation doesn’t matter here!! So the challenge is how a small organization can drive advocacy programmes on issues they work with. The answer is - VOLUNTEERS getting into advocacy. It starts with the creation of an advocacy cell which can get into action whenever an issue comes up. The advantages of volunteers getting into advocacy roles are manifold and the prime reason being they are the ones who are emotionally attached to the issue and any policy decision affects their work environment directly. Also, volunteers add numbers to the advocacy campaign, and numbers are very crucial for the success of any advocacy programme.

      It becomes absolutely essential when we work with the govt. system, as the premise of our work and relationships are decided by external agencies and if we cant influence these decisions its not worthwhile to work with the system. A good number of organizations focus on specific issues like education, health etc with the strength of their volunteers but shy away from the primary responsibility of studying the issues and align with advocacy efforts happening in the field across the country.

      People are concerned about the status of a government school, the state of education and health etc and religiously doing their bit by volunteering by going to a school or a programme area and wonder why other fellow country men are not volunteering? Will that help? Even a large force of people, volunteering for a cause silently, without raising their voices against the injustice done in the sector, cannot bring about any lasting change in the system. Are they all in agreement or are they really avoiding any debate on the issues and the causes? Why cant people study the issues, think and act? Let there be a debate and discussion…. If it happens that’s the first step to advocacy !