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Suhasini Kanwar

Monisha Bajaj
Year 2015, pp. 68, Rs. 160.00

VOLUME XL NUMBER 11 November 2016

The book starts off with an explanation of what child rights are, who needs them, who protects them and how they can be violated. Tracing the timeline of the child rights movement internationally, and then in India, and including a description of the forerunners of the child rights movement in India helps the reader to understand the genesis and current status of child rights. ‘Education’ gets a dedicated section in which Bajaj focusses briefly on the ‘Right to Education Act’ and its practical repercussions. The chapter on violations brings to the fore heart-wrenching stories of the sufferings of many children in India, emanating from lack of basic protection policies. It evokes emotion and helps the reader to see both the immediacy and criticality of the problems that our children face. A wonderfully drafted section is the one that shares details of organizations and NGOs that work for the protection of child rights. In addition, Bajaj also shares real life case studies of children surmounting odds and fighting for their rights. After the somewhat bleak picture painted previously, this portion fills the reader with hope and faith in the possibilities of betterment. The last section carries a few simple activities that teachers and parents can actually do with their children. The idea is to spread awareness and empower children to protect their own rights and prevent any forms of violation. Worksheets throughout the book are very simple and directed towards creating an awareness in children about their rights and building empathy for their less privileged counterparts, who risk losing their rights the most. A tacit but compelling message in the worksheets aimed at teachers is to help them to understand the importance of listening to children’s voices in the classroom. The worksheets also provide space and opportunities to teachers and children to introspect and reflect on important issues. The case studies serve as powerful assertions of the fact that change is possible and is our collective responsibility. A list of related books and films is provided at the end of the book, leaving the reader with ample scope to explore more about child rights. While this book is intended as a handbook for teachers, it could well serve as a basic initiation reader for children from middle school onwards. It could thus help to stir children to spearhead their own movements and support each other.The advice at the end ...

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