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Children's Parliament, August, 2012

Children Parliaments

Contents

Editor’s Desk
Independence Day Message
From Brail language
Conference of Children
Meeting Krishnagiri Collector
Parents of Kumba’konam demand....
Ms. Swarnalakshmi speaks to us...
Ms. M. Sabari speaks to us....
Success Stories...

Contact Details

8A / 1A, "Casa Felice",
Arul Nagar, Paalpannai Road, Nagercoil-629001,
Kanyakumari District,
Tamilnadu, India.
Phone: +91 4652 278223
Mob: +91 94426 48224
E-mail: info@childrenparliament.in
Children Parliaments

Editor’s Desk

Inclusive Children’s Parliaments

Children’s Parliaments work towards establishing a casteless, secular, egalitarian and non-violent society at the neighbourhood to global levels.

All children living in a specific territory of 30 families form themselves into a Neighbourhood Parliament of Children (NPC). Thus, each NPC includes all children living in that area and excludes none, irrespective of their caste, creed, religion or economic disparity or physical and mental infirmities. That is why NPC is also called as Inclusive Children’s Parliaments (ICPs).

The children of these ICPs come together, discuss together, learn together, decide together and executive together on weekly basis.

Each ICP has a set of child ministers for various concerns like education, health, environment, finance, food, defence, sports, etc., including a child minister for disability concerns.

They collectively analyse local problems with a global perspective and evolve solutions. They execute their actions with the help and guidance of adult members of their communities. They also continuously involve in monitoring and evaluation of their own activities.

In this way, children continue to involve in addressing their problems and the problems of their territories in Tamilnadu and Puducherry and in 23 states of India.

Children’s Parliaments start functioning at neighbourhood level and expand its governing arms to village, panchayat, block, district, state, nation and global levels through their multi-tier federations.

There are more than 10,000 children’s parliaments in Tamilnadu and Puducherry alone.

The Tamilnadu-Puducherry State Parliaments of Children won the global UNICEF award for the best child led organisation for child rights action in 2009.

Children function with different structures but with one goal. They function as Children’s Clubs, Bala Sabhas, and Children’s Forums in remote hamlets, villages and urban areas with the sole aim of fighting against child rights violations.

The purpose of this e-magazine is to document and disseminate information pertaining to children’s initiatives, achievements, struggles, problems and solutions to the consideration of all sections of people and to those at the helm of political power structure for policy changes and legal remedies.

We also publish child rights related articles with different perspectives to create healthy discussions among like-minded people.

Thank all

Independence Day Message

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Children!
Child Ministers of Children’s Parliaments!
Members of Children’s Parliaments!

Let us convey to you our best wishes of independence Day celebrations.

On August 15th, 1947 India became independent from British Rule. Since then we have been celebrating the Independence Day every year on August 15th.

Once we were slaves for over 200 years ruled by an alien country. Our national leaders and innumerable freedom fighters fought with a slogan of ‘freedom is my birth right and we will achieve it’. Large number of people marched behind them.

People of our country united despite their caste, religious and language barriers. They came together as Indians and fought the colonial forces. Unable to fight against the power and solidarity of our people, the alien forces backtracked to their country.

Freedom fighters sacrificed their precious lives and fought to free our motherland from the clutches of oppressors. They fought with a dream of independence to enable us to lead a prosperous and independent life.

On this special occasion, let us pay rich tributes to our freedom fighters. Let us also salute them for their sacrifices.

We also celebrate the day with flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programmes throughout the country.

Let us also celebrate with same enthusiasm and energy our Independence Day in our schools, villages, children’s parliaments and wherever possible.

Dear children do not forget that we have an important task to accomplish on this special day.

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Yes, we should all participate in the Gram Sabha meetings. We should discuss and present our problems and the problems of our villages in the form of petitions. This way we should ensure our participation and changes in our lives and the lives of our villages.

Let us build a world fit for children.

From Brail language

Some of the demands of visually impaired children to the public and to the government:
By Ms. Mahalakshmi, Sirumalar Children’s Parliament, Teynampet, Chennai:

  • Seats meant for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in trains are occupied by other persons. Therefore, PWDs could not travel in trains safely and comfortably. The public should take note of it and give way to PWDs.
  • The parents of Children with Disabilities (CWDs) should not think that such children could do nothing. Instead, they should enrol them into schools meant for them.
  • Female babies should not be thrown into waste boxes. They should be respected as important citizens of this country and should be given proper protection. They should not be misused and I request the public to respect them.
  • We should disallow drunkards to drive vehicles and create problems in streets.
  • Blind Schools should be equipped with computers with Java Software to help visually impaired children for easy learning.
  • We request the government to provide appropriate jobs to unemployed PWDs and the youth.
  • The government of Tamilnadu should take stern action against those who misbehave with ladies and those who force women to indulge in unlawful activities.

By Ms. G. Praveena, 9th STD., Children’s Parliament, Teynampet, Chennai:

  • It is better to distribute books prepared in Brail in the new syllabus immediately to us
  • It will be a surprise for people like me if we get jobs immediately after the completion of our studies. However, we are given jobs normally in Education Department, Banks and Courts only. This situation has to be changed. We should be given jobs in all other departments too.

By Ms. M. Afrose, 8th STD., Lois Brail Children’s Parliament, Chennai:

  • Instead of giving alms to begging children, it is better to enrol them into schools
  • Drivers should stop their vehicles to pave the way for PWDs to cross the roads.
  • ‘Women are the eyes of a nation’ Keeping this in mind we should not exploit them by involving them in unlawful activities.
  • So as to help PWDs to develop their sport skills, we should have special playgrounds in schools specifically meant for them.
  • All assistances should reach the PWDs without any impediments.
  • All schools should have facilities to help children to learn Hindi, Spoken English and Computer.
  • Alcohols that spoil both the families and the nation should be prohibited by all means.
  • Damaged roads should be repaired immediately.

Conference of Children

Arcot Lutheran Church (ALC) has organised more than 100 neighbourhood parliaments of children (NPC) in three zones, viz., Thiru’kovilur, Thiruvannamalai and Ulundurpet in Tamilnadu, India.

ALC normally facilitates children to come together at zonal level for conferences every year. This year too, ALC has organised zonal level conferences of children at Thiyaga’thurugai in Ulundurpet zone and at Thiruvannamalai in Thiruvannamalai zone on July 14th and 15th respectively.

In these two conferences, Child Ministers from various NPCs come together, discuss together, decide together and review their actions together for further actions and reflections. They also get their skills further improved through various training programmes.

During the zonal level conferences, the Child Ministers were grouped according to their portfolios and asked to share their experiences with regard to dealing with local issues and problems. Mr. Suryachandran and Ms. Logammal from NCN participated in the group discussions and the plenary sessions that followed. Both have given their clarifications on doubts raised by Child Ministers on various issues.

There were group discussions also on topics like rights to participation and rights to protection. They also discussed environment related issues.

As part of the conference agenda, the Child Ministers for Disability Concerns discussed various problems faced by children with disabilities and they expressed their concerns and ideas to protect such children and explored the ways and means of helping them.

Mr. Nelson and Mr. Johnwesli, Zonal Officers, coordinated the activities of Ulundurpet and Thiru’vanna’malai Zonal conferences respectively.

At the end of the conference, the Child Ministers passed the following resolutions:
  • It was resolved to appreciate the officials of Tamilnadu Planning Commission for consulting the children for the first time in the history of India to incorporate their ideas in the 12th Five Year Plan;
  • It was resolved that the Child Prime Minister and the Child Home Minister of every NCP should invite and ensure the participation of all children in the Gram Sabha meetings. They should also enable children to express their views freely during such meetings;
  • It was resolved to boycott the use of plastic bags to protect the environment;
  • It was resolved to understand the problems of children with disabilities and respect them as equal partners in the development process.
Apart from NCN, Mr Ezhumalai and Martin Mangalaraj from RPS and Cadre Thangaraj participated in the conference and felicitated the Child Ministers and resourced the training programmes too.

Mr. Sunder, Executive Director, ALC Schools Project, participated and shared his view by speaking to the Child Ministers. He said: “Compared to other countries, India is flooded with huge human resource potential. We should utilise them appropriately. It is our desire that Child Ministers of all the NPCs should enter into active politics”.

“They should not keep away from politics by arguing that politics is not good and there are no good politicians. Instead, they should start involving in real politics to cleanse it and to rule the country”

By raising his hands over and above his head with our magazine “Kulandaigal Paralumantram” he put up two questions to the audience of Child Ministers:

“Have you seen this magazine? Have you read this magazine?”

The Child Ministers in chorus replied:

“Yes, we have seen it and we have read it”

He appealed to the Child Ministers: “Yes I know every NPC is getting this magazine. But that is not enough. Every Child Minister should subscribe to this magazine individually and read the magazine completely. This will help you to develop your personality”

During the conference, the children were given ample time and space to enjoy playing with other children and perform cultural programmes.

Meeting Krishnagiri Collector

Shri. Maheshwaran, I.A.S., District Collector of Krishnagiri district, has fixed every first Sunday of a month as ‘Grievances Day for Children’. On that day, children from various Children’s Parliaments (CP) could meet him along with his officials to discuss the problems they face and to suggest remedial measures to redress them. They have to present their problems in the form of petitions.

Second such meeting was organised on July 1st, 2012 at District Collector’s Office, Krishnagiri. The meeting was attended by 58 children from 20 CPS, the District Collector, District Public Relations Officer, District Revenue Officer and staffs of UNICEF and NCN.

These children hail from villages in Shoolagiri and Kelamanglam blocks of Krishnagiri district.

Children Parliaments Demands:

The children put forward their demands in the form of petitions to the District Collector. The demands include road facilities, toilet facilities, street lights, library for their villages, ration cards, etc.

In addition, they prayed to the District Collector to take stern action against those schools that collect exorbitant fees over and above the fixed rates.

Remedies:

The District Collector after receiving the petitions promised:

  • To take action against schools that collect fees unlawfully;
  • To provide all government schools in the district with clean drinking water, compound walls, toilet facilities, etc., under the ‘Education to All’ scheme.
Sharing Success Stories: Children shared their success stories with the District Collector. District Collector appreciated the efforts of children to change their lives and their villages.

Vote of Thanks: Ms Bavani, Child Prime Minister, Freedom Children’s Parliament, Kollapatti of Shoolagiri block in Krishnagiri district, concluded the programme with ‘votes of thanks.

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Parents of Kumba’konam demand.……..

The 8th death anniversary of 94 children who were charred beyond recognition was observed on July 16th, 2012 at Kumba’konam. The mishap that shook the world occurred on July 16, 2004 perishing 94 children in a fire that struck Shri Ramakrishna Primary School in Kumba’konam. The nation encountered such a terrific incident due to the utter negligence of school administration and the government officials.

Every year on this Memorial Day, the parents who lost the children, relatives and the public come together at the spot and mourn the day.

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On the 8th memorial day of July 16, 2012, a digital banner displaying the photos of children who lost their lives was placed at the place of incident decorated with garlands and flowers. The parents prayed offering sweets and new dresses in front of the banner. They repeated the same rituals with prayers, offerings in the burial ground.

On behalf of the parents who lost their children, a memorial meeting was organised at the place of the incident. Parents, children who escaped from the horrifying fire and the public participated in the memorial function by lighting candles, placing garlands and pouring flowers.

Afterwards, a procession started and reached the memorial mandap in Palakarai at the bank of river Cauvery and offered prayers with garlands. At 6 pm, the parents went in a procession with agal lights and floated them on the waters in Makamakam pool.

The parents appealed to the government to declare July 16 as a Child Protection Day.

We remember this day not merely to remind the school authorities, officials and to observe the Memorial Day. This day is observed to ensure that such incidents should not be repeated hereafter. Children Parliaments

Ms. R. Swarnalakshmi speaks to us….

Children Parliaments My name is R. Swarnalakshmi. I am studying 9thStd. My school name is Little Flower High School for Visually Impaired. It is located in Tenampet, Chennai.

Children’s Parliament - An Introduction:

When I was studying 8th STD last year, we celebrated the birthday of Mr. Kamaraj in our school. On that day Sr. Gladys from NCN came. She introduced the concept of Children’s Parliament and organised a Children’s Parliament in our school. I was elected as a Child Minister for Information and Communications.

State level Child Minister for Finance:

I came to know through our school that whosoever interested might attend the 4th State level annual meeting of Children’s Parliament to be held from Dec. 27th to 29th, 2011 at Church Park Convent, Chennai. I went there with the permission of my parents. Few more sisters from our school also came there.

After the completion of sports events in the morning, we were informed that those who were interested in participating in the parliament elections might come after the lunch. However, it was also informed that only two persons from a district could participate. I participated on behalf of Chennai district.

When we went there, we were asked to sit in a circle and explained in detail to us the election method practised in the children’s parliaments. Thereafter, the election was held on soiciocratic method. In the election, I was elected as State level Child Minister for Finance. The elected Child Ministers took oath of office administered by a retired High Court Judge. Soon after the completion of swear-in-ceremony, State level meeting was held. A Press Meet was also held. Children Parliaments

Meeting the Speaker of Tamilnadu State:

I and two more from my school, two students from Deaf and Dump school and two Child Ministers from Children’s Parliaments, numbering 7, met Hon. D. Jayakumar, Speaker for Tamilnadu Legislative Assembly and presented a petition with the resolutions passed in the 4th State level meeting to him.

Children’s Parliament Vs Parliament at Delhi:

On behalf of Children’s Parliament, we went to Delhi from January 29 to February 2, 2012 for ‘Nine is Mine’ campaign. I and my school colleagues, Ms. Kamatchi and Ms. Gayathri and Ms. Janani and Ms. Vennila from Deaf and Dump school and few more children from other districts came for the campaign. A total of 14 children with the guidance of Sr. Jesumary participated.

It was a new experience for me. It helped me to mingle with various children from different castes, religions and languages and know their ideas and the problems they faced.

Our Indian Government in 1960 announced through the then Prime Minister, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, allocation of 9% for children (6% for education and 3% for health) in the Five Year Plans. But it was not implemented. That was why; we went to Delhi to press this prime demand.

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I and Ms. Pavithra, Child Education Minister of Children’s Parliament, and child representatives from various other states who came with us, met Mr. Rahman Khan, an important Rajya Sabha MP and submitted a charter of demands on behalf of Children’s Parliaments.

We had the opportunity through children’s parliament to meet the Gavali famous singer Mr. Johar Ali. The remnants of my journey to Delhi will remain with me for ever as an unforgettable experience in my life.

Meeting the officials:

Ms. Shantha Sheela Nair, the Vice Chairperson of Tamilnadu Planning Commission, accepted the demand of Ms. Savitha of children’s forums promoted by ‘Arunodhaya’ that the children be consulted to include their ideas in the 12th Five Year Plan of the State government of Tamilnadu. A four-day programme was organised at Thiru’kazhu’kuntram to facilitate children to equip themselves to convey their ideas effectively to the Planning Commission. A total of 51 children from FPCP and NCN participated in the programme held from May 6th to 9th, 2012. A Monitoring Committee consisting of 11 children was formed. I was one among them selected. On May 9th 2012, we went to the office of the Planning Commission in Chennai and met the officials and discussed our demands with them. They promised to incorporate our demands in the 12th Five Year Plan

Press Meet:

Children Parliaments On June 8th we went to Press Club at Chennai. Masters Manikandan, Nagaraj and Sarathkumar and Ms. Rebecca, Ms. Thamilarasi, and I shared our discussions we had with the Planning Commission to the news reporters.

My Important Contributions:

Soon after I became part of Children’s Parliament, the Thane cyclone devastated Cudalore causing massive destructions in the district. So as to distribute relief materials to the children of that area, I went there along with Sr. Gladys and Ms. Logammal on Jan 17th, 2012.

We met Hon. Ms. Sabari, Child Prime Minister, and we distributed free notebooks to the cyclone affected children. We evolved a scheme to collect contributions with ease from the children. We decided to collect smaller amounts that were possible by children to help the needy and the poor children.

Changes in my personal life:

  • After becoming part of Children’s Parliament, my level of confidence has increased.
  • I have learnt to do things on my own.
  • I have developed my oratory and communication skills.
  • Since I live in a city, I was ignorant of villages. Now I have the opportunity to mingle with various children and I came to know their problems and how they successfully encounter such problems
Let me express my sincere gratitude to Children’s Parliament that gave me an opportunity to gain experiential knowledge of life beyond bookish knowledge.

I will express my gratitude not merely in words but also through deeds.


Ms. M. Sabari speaks to us....

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Children Parliaments Let us meet Ms. M. Sabari, aged 16. She is a member of Children’s Parliament (CP) in Samba ‘Siva Nagar. ‘SEE Trust’ has organised this CP in 2009. Samba ‘Siva Nagar is part of Vanniar’palayam Panchayat of Cudalore district in Tamilnadu, India.

‘I am Sabari’ and she continued ‘I am studying 11th STD and I am living in one of the streets of Samba ‘Siva Nagar’

‘Until the inception of CP in my street’, she confessed ‘I am unknown even to my neighbours’

‘I joined the CP as a member’ she started sharing her association with CP briefly.

‘Being reserved and unfamiliar to many, CP gave me the opportunity to mingle with the children of my neighbourhoods. As I slowly enhanced my skills, I was elected as a Child Minister for Education in my CP. I began to involve actively in all the activities of our CP.

Having noted my active participation and articulation skills I was elected and elevated to the post of Child Minister for Home Affairs at the district level. During the State level annual meeting of Children’s Parliament, I was elected as joint Child Minister for Food and I am proud of being honoured’

‘As a result of my active involvement, I got opportunities to visit places like Thanjavur, Chennai, Salem and Kanyakumari to participate in various programmes. These programmes helped me to develop friendships with children of other districts too’

‘My parents treated me at par with my brothers. They gave me the same freedom as they gave to my brothers. Whenever I went for meetings in far off places, my parents supported me and they never objected to such visits even though our culture does not allow young girls to go out and stay in other places’ Children Parliaments

‘The people of my street do not favour boys to use cell phones. Girls like me could not even dream of having cell phones. However, my younger brother used to give his cell phone to me whenever I go to other places telling that ‘I should have a cell phone like others have’. It revealed his confidence in me’

‘Nowadays people of my street approach me with various problems urging me to take remedial measures. My father, who is an addict, after witnessing my active involvement, has considerably reduced the consumption of alcohol’

When we asked about the impact of CP in her personal life, she replied:

‘The CP has brought quite a lot of changes in my personal life. It is not possible for me to share all the changes within a short span of a day or two. However, let me share some of the important changes within me’

  • I have learned to communicate with others by looking at their eyes directly
  • I have developed friendships with both boys and girls without any gender bias
  • Now I have more friends in many parts of Tamilnadu
‘The CP has made all these changes in me. I will never forget my CP as long as I live in this world’

‘I will take special efforts to spread the concept of CP not only in my country but also in other countries. I declare this statement as a Child Minister of Food at State level’

‘Thank you’Children Parliaments

Success Stories.....

Children stopped child marriage:

This is a success story of “Saathanai Pookkal Neighbourhood Parliament of Children, Gopalapuram village, Betha’naickan’palayam block of Salem district.

A girl studying 10th STD was awaiting her results. Meanwhile her marriage was fixed with a man of Ganesapuram village and the engagement was also arranged at the bridegroom’s place.

The girl was not ready for the marriage. Since she was a member of the Children’s Parliament, she requested the ministers of the parliament to bring an end to this.

Hence the decision was made to stop the marriage. Children along with Ms. Kanmani and Ms. Kalaiselvi, the NCN Coordinators, and Mr. Aranganathan and Murugesan of UNICEF and the Village Administration Officer came to the spot on May 26th, 2012 and enquired with the parents of the girl.

After ascertaining the facts, they stopped the marriage. The parents assured them by signing the written document that the girl will be sent to school as long as she wants to study.

Now the girl is pursuing her +1 with her responsibility also as a Child Minister in the Children’s Parliament.

Roja Children’s Parliament, Chettivillai, Kanyakumari district

To ban TASMAC outlet:

In Kamarajapuram village, Samithoppu Panchayat, Kanyakumari district, the daily life is very much disturbed due to the TASMAC outlet there. The children were very much affected because of the drunkards and were not able to concentrate on their studies. Hence a petition was prepared and submitted by Ms S. Shalini, Education Minister, on behalf of Children’s Parliament.

Requisition for a place to conduct regular meetings of Children’s Parliaments:

Due to inadequacy of a proper place to conduct the regular meetings of Children’s Parliaments, they were not able to carry out the activities of their Children Parliament effectively. Hence a petition was prepared and submitted to arrange a place at the upstairs of the library building by Ms K. Cinthiya, Prime Minister, on behalf of Children’s Parliament

Petition to repair street lights:

There is no proper street light facility on the route of Chettivillai from the bus stand to the village and so the children are afraid of going out and the daily routine is affected. Hence a petition was given to repair the streetlights by N. Anushya, Public Welfare Minister, on behalf of Children’s Parliament

Thadoor Bagath Singh Children’s Parliament:

Let us learn from the success stories of our children of the Thiruthani Block of Thiruvallur district. We have 10 children’s parliaments organised by Mr. Antony in the blocks of Thiruthani and Thiruvlianku guided by Ms. Logammal of NCN.

Thadoor is a small village of Thiruthani comprising of socially and economically backward people. Here we are going to read the success stories of our children of Bagath Sing Children’s Parliament that has been functioning over a year now.

New school building:

The Thadoor school building was in bad shape which was a threat to the safety of children. Our children submitted a petition to Mr. Chinnaiya, Panchayat President, and to Mr. Noor Batsha, Counsellor, during a cultural programme on 27th of June in the village. They willingly accepted the petitions and thereby the place was allotted for the building and now the construction is going on.

Bus facility:

There were no bus facilities at Thadoor village except for a private mini bus for transportation. The children submitted a petition to provide a bus facility from Thiruthani to Solingar via Thadoor. The government immediately took action and sent a bus for a trial during the month of June, 2012. But due to poor and narrow roads the government has announced to repair the road and then restart the bus service. Now full-fledged work is going on to broaden and repair the road there.

Women’s and Children’s Sanitary Centre for sanitation and hygiene:

There was no proper toilet facility for the people at Thadoor village and especially women and children were affected because of this. With the due petition of our children’s parliament here to allot a place for which they also suggested that a place near an old cemetery grounds would be feasible, during the January 26thgramasabha meeting the President Mr. Chinnaiya has assured to take steps immediately.

Our Bagath Singh Children’s Parliament depicts immediate action in all issues that needed a solution and in no way tired of their efforts.

Getting back to School after two years:

Anna Nagar is a beautiful village of Betha’naickan’palayam block in Salem district of Tamilnadu, India.

Muthu Prabhakaran is the fourth child with four sisters and the only boy of Mr Muniyappan and Ms Saroja.

Both have to earn every day to run the family. Even a day without work will put the family in hunger. In spite of this poverty the responsible parents educated their children. Two of the daughters went to work taking the family situation into consideration. The third child Amsavalli was doing her 9thstd at Ariyapalayam Higher Secondary School.

The boy was going to 6th STD at a matriculation school nearby. The younger child Vijayalakshmi was going to an anganwadi. Then the elder girls got married but the debts for the marriage still pressurized the family while Amsavalli went to 10th and Muthu Prabhakaran to 7th STD the next year. The pending school fee of Rs.2500 for which the Principal wouldn’t wait stopped him from going to school

Muthu Prabhakaran’s father Muniyappan went to the government school seeking admission the next year, but the headmaster asked for the TC from the previous school which will only be issued if the pending fee was paid at the matriculation school. Thus his efforts went in vain that year.

Since the house of Muthu Prabhakaran was located at the outskirts of Annanagar village, they were not aware of the Kurinjipoo Neighbourhood Children’s Parliament that was functioning in the village.

In this situation Muthu Prabhakaran gradually came to know of the activities of the children and the opportunity he missed all these days to develop himself. He requested the Prime Minister, K. Yasmitha to enrol him as a member of the Parliament and with the consent of the members he was taken in. Immediately after knowing about the situation of Muthu Prabhakaran deprived of education the children took efforts to send him back to school.

The decision was taken on May 25th, 2012 by the members of the parliament and a medical certificate was issued to admit him in 8thstd at Ariyapalyam Government Higher Secondary School. Now the life of the boy changed. He is confident about his future now.

Thanks to the neighbourhood parliaments of children.

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We express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to CBM SARO for their consistent support for the project 'Improving Children’ Participation through an Inclusive Children’s Parliamentary System'.