9th November 2016 was a special day in Ichhavar, Madya Pradesh. As part of the 'Bal Mela' or Children's fair organised by Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti (BGVS), 150 students members of Bal Cabinets or Children’s Parliament and 38 teachers from 60 schools in the region came together to discuss Children’s’ rights in educational institutes.
The event started off with an address note from Asha Mishra, Vice President, BGVS, who spoke about the importance of child rights, and the work BGVS is doing in the community to ensure them. The Chief Guest for the event was the District Magistrate, who lauded BGVS for their work.
The event then proceeded with group discussions about Bal cabinets and child rights in schools. Students were divided into groups and given activities around the themes of 'My Ideal School' and 'Role of a Bal Cabinet'. They were also given related reading materials which included a Bal Cabinet booklet and a pamphlet.
There was a separate discussion with teachers and community members to discuss and resolve the issues of rising drop-out rates in schools and the lack of infrastructure, which are the most pressing concerns they face.
Towards the end of the day’s activities, students were invited to participate in Amnesty International’s global Write for Rights campaign. The event concluded with students presenting their plans from the group discussion sessions, and raising issues of concern that were pertinent to them.
Amnesty International India’s Human Rights Education programme is collaborating with BGVS to bring the values and principles of human rights – dignity, respect, inclusion and participation – into daily school life through the institution of robust bal cabinets or children’s parliaments. The ‘Bal Mela’, organised by BGVS is a vibrant example of a whole-school approach to human rights education, where all members of the school community – students, teachers and the community – come together to ensure a rights-respecting environment for all.