Youth activist Ritu Kumari writes about 100 Million India's demands for the right to education.

 

When a young boy who sells balloons at India Gate was asked if he goes to school or not, he said he doesn’t. His elder brother, also a minor, immediately interrupted to cover it up by saying he does. The younger one later claimed that they were not allowed to answer such questions.

On 17th October, the 100 Million campaign began its 2019 global action across the entire world with empowered young people coming together, breaking the shackles to step out and question every single human: “When will every child have justice? When will every child have education?”

In India, the Right to Education Act, 2009 mandates free and compulsory education to every child from the age of 6 to 14. Article 45 of the Indian Constitution demanded the State to achieve this within 10 years from the commencement of our Constitution. However, the implementation and impact remain incomplete, distorted and impaired even after 69 years of the Constitution.

The youth activists of 100 Million India led a powerful march in India’s capital, Delhi, at the India Gate, representing 19 Indian States and over 500 schools, to expressively vocalise the issue of education for every child, especially the most marginalised. The agenda was to sensitise the crowd and impart essential knowledge on how there is still a substantial number of children in India, a considerable amount in Delhi itself, who have absolutely no access not just to education, but mere freedom due to various social evils: ‘roadside’ children who the nation conveniently ignores on an everyday basis.

We were demanding cooperation from everyone, especially those in power and people’s elected representatives on behalf of the silenced and suppressed. The uniqueness of the Global Action is that its ambition is to achieve freedom, safety and education for every single child in the world.

The world’s young people are its greatest resource, and our involvement is a pre-requisite to achieving progressive objectives today. Our participation counts for every development and our inquisitiveness for every transformation. As a part of the Global Action, youth leaders, on the occasion of International Human Rights Day, on 10th December, will also be reaching out to all Members of Parliament in India, to ask them to extend their support to the campaign and encouraging them to work with young people as much possible. The objective shall remain to confer rights to justice, education, safety and freedom for every child.

To get involved in the campaign, find out more here.

Ritu Kumari is a youth activist for 100 Million India, and a student at the National Law School, Bangalore, Karnataka