When Rumi Kumari (18) demanded Jharkhand to be free of child marriage and child labour, the political party leaders could not stop themselves from applauding and accepting her demand of putting the issue in their manifesto for upcoming general elections.
“I was trafficked and forced to work in a household as domestic help. When I returned, at the age of 12, my parents tried to get me married off. While I managed to resist and am pursuing my education along while working at the same time, many girls are unable to do so and they are instead married off at a very young age,” she said.
Rumi added, “I will request all the political parties to include issues related to child rights in their respective election manifestos.”
With the concept of #vote4children Jharkhand State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (JSCPCR) in association with Save the Children and World Vision, organized an interactive session of children with various political parties on Saturday.
“As children do not form the voter class, their needs are usually ignored during elections. The aim of the programme is to inform the political parties about the demand of children and request them to make their manifesto for the upcoming general elections child friendly,” said Chairperson of JSCPCR, Arti Kujur.
Leaders from various political parties, including Mayor Asha Lakra from BJP, Rajeev Ranjan from Congress, Manoj Kumar from Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) and Rajan Singh from Aam Admi Party (AAP) were among the few leaders who participated.
On the occasion, a booklet mentioning the basic demands of children was launched. General Manager of Save the Children, Jharkhand, Mahadev Hansda said, “We organized 122 meetings with 2050 children in six districts of the State to come up with the demand booklet.”
The booklet includes demand in four major sectors, health, education, child protection and right to inclusion.
The major demands included ending malnutrition, providing good medical facilities in every village, clean drinking water and toilet in every household, proper sports facility in schools, all schools to be brought under ambit of RTE Act, making a violence free society for children, bringing about awareness regarding sexual offences by making it a part of the syllabus among many more.
The programme concluded with all the party leaders pledging to make children related issues a part of their manifesto in the upcoming elections.