World Day News/Media

Inspiration Corner: Standing Up With One Million Indian Children

The challenges are enormous. In India, of the nearly 160 million children younger than six years old, too many are still affected by poverty, deprivation, violence, communicable diseases, gender discrimination and, at times, public apathy. Even the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, referred to the problem of malnutrition as a matter of national shame. 

In Coimbatore this month, World Day partner Shanti Ashram will be launching its response to the challenge: its enthusiastic "Standing Up With One Million Indian Children" campaign. The ashram educate the public to garner support; point out solutions to challenges; and mobilize children's rights defenders for action. They plan a major outreach to children, starting with one million children across 10 states of India.

"Peace begins with me" a painting at Shanti Ashram, Coimbatore, IndiaShanti Ashram's track record is substantial. In its 25-year history, the ashram has piloted India's Literacy Mission in 1986; served more than 250,000 vulnerable children, women and men; and collaborated with over 82 partners at local, national and international levels. "Our spiritual motivation inspires us to be engaged in social action," said the late Dr. M. Aram, who with his spouse Minoti Aram and fellow Gandhians founded Shanti Ashram.

Plans this month include a campaign kick-off on 13 November with 2,000 children and 100 partner organizations. A public education campaign will then follow from 14 to 20 November. At schools and places of worship, in neighborhoods and public spaces, children will take part in learning about their rights. And throughout this process, Shanti Ashram will work collectively with partners in government, industry, Gandhian and religious organizations, and foundations.
Each partner will find a unique way to defend children's rights, impact deprivation and say no to violence against children, emphasizing:

  • Birth certificate verification
  • Child rights literacy
  • Age-appropriate immunization
  • Introduction to ethics education
  • Community service experience with a focus on ending child marriage and child poverty.

Read more stories from the 7 November issue newsletter.