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INDIA: Salesian missionaries with the People’s Action for Rural Awakening hold National Convention of School Human Rights Clubs with more than 600 youth


(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries with the People’s Action for Rural Awakening (PARA) held the National Convention of School Human Rights Clubs in Vijayawada, India, on Dec. 28, 2019. The meeting brought together 600 girls and boys representing 630 schools from two Indian states—Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The conference was started with a word from the education minister of Andhra Pradesh, Honorable Adimulapu Suresh, who declared, “The voice of children must be listened to and their opinions must be respected.”

The conference had the theme “We raise our voices, we talk of our rights. Join us.” Children presented the education minister with a memorandum with 10 demands for action from the authorities. Suresh said he was happily surprised to see how the children were so profound and articulate in their views and praised the activities they carried out to promote children’s rights.

“I am thrilled to see such vibrant students working against social evils and striving for a society that respects differences,” said Suresh.

Praising PARA’s efforts, Suresh said that all students should receive a 360-degree education based on values and that family resources should never be an obstacle to education. Then he recalled each of the 10 points of the memorandum presented by the students and said he would follow up on each of them.

In particular, he responded very positively to the request to integrate human rights education in all schools within the Andhra Pradesh state, in collaboration with PARA. Further, Suresh expressed he wished to see human rights clubs operating in the 45,000 schools within the state so that all children may become aware of their rights.

PARA has set up more than 758 human rights clubs in 587 schools impacting 32,420 students in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Human rights clubs are part of PARA’s Human Rights Education Program that is carried out in cooperation with the United Nations sponsored Institute of Human Rights Education.

“Youth in every region and in every culture around the globe are entitled to basic human rights,” says Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Through educational programming, Salesian missionaries fight tirelessly each day to make sure the voices of marginalized youth are heard. Human rights clubs help to enhance this work and make sure every child knows his or her human rights and is able to become a part of the development process.”

India has the world’s fourth largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. A multidimensionally poor child is one who lacks at least one-third of 10 indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.

Salesian programs across India are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education in the country helps youth prepare for later technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help to support poor youth and their families by meeting the basic needs of shelter, proper nutrition and medical care.



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ANS – India – National Convention of School Human Rights Clubs

Salesian Missions – India

World Bank – India