“Khushi” Striving For Change in a Non-Funding Way

“Khushi” Striving For Change in a Non-Funding Way

Educated, nourished and healthy children hold the key to a bright future for any developing country. The brighter side is that India houses the maximum number of children in the world, much more than China, but sad part is, every third malnourished child in the world lives in India. India also happens to be a country of maximum child-deaths, almost 20% of global child deaths.

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“Khushi” Striving For Change in a Non-Funding Way Educated, nourished and healthy children hold the key to a bright future for any developing country. The brighter side is that India houses the maximum number of children in the world, much more than China, but sad part is, every third malnourished child in the world lives in India. India also happens to be a country of maximum child-deaths, almost 20% of global child deaths.

In the given circumstances it is essential to look after the well being of these deprived children or India loses out of this massive natural human resource.

More than this, these children will have no future – due to lack of good health, education and growth, these children would be deprived of a natural childhood and a self-sustaining future. India is passing through a challenging phase where almost 50% of the country’s population is in the age group of 0-25 years.

With an objective to spread awareness towards these underprivileged children, on April 10, 2012, Vedanta Resources plc launched its first social media campaign “KHUSHI”.

The campaign has been launched with a thought that Government, companies or NGOs cannot do it alone and individuals need to come forward and participate towards this national issue.

Pavan Kaushik, Head of Corporate Communication, who carved this campaign says, “Almost 50% of the child population in India lacks basic necessities – nutrition, health and education. When tomorrow, these children would grow into adults, how would they become productive citizens of India ? It is in the interest of the nation and also for our own well-being to ensure that these children are addressed and they have bright and sustainable future.”

Pavan says “KHUSHI campaign was started on social media through a blog and on facebook platform.

The blog uploads the success stories of people who have come forward and worked for these deprived children and made difference to their lives. The facebook platform discusses issues relating to education, nutrition and health of these children. It is our medium of spreading information and strengthening the campaign. Both the platforms are linked.

Important is “KHUSHI” is a non-funding campaign that encourages people to come forward and understand the problem and take individual steps for the probable solutions.

We even decided to develop the blog, maintain and operate it in-house. Many members have come forward with donations but KHUSHI encourages them to take direct steps. This has brought belongingness towards the campaign.”

“Khushi” Striving For Change in a Non-Funding Way

“KHUSHI is a campaign that connects people of similar minds and thoughts. People who are genuinely connected with the development and growth of country and willing to put that extra bit to either churn out new strategies or bring the cause to the notice of common people and policy makers”, says Pavan.

The campaign started with 7 people has now crossed 25,000 members group and the blog is touching 58,000 page views. People from different professions like professors, teachers, students, doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, management graduates, journalists, social workers, writers, NGOs, etc. are part of the KHUSHI group and are taking the campaign forward.

“KHUSHI” would be 1 year old now and we shall be celebrating its First Anniversary. First change that KHUSHI has been able to cultivate is that of change in temperament of people towards the deprived children. “Be polite with the poor children as they are not deprived by choice but by chance” says Pavan Kaushik.

This change has been possible due to continuous discussion and deliberations on KHUSHI platform.

The thought-full online discussions and debates on education and infrastructure development in rural schools, nutrition & education to street children, problem of children involved in making crackers, increasing drop-outs rate in rural schools, teachers problem, menace of beggary, child labour, vocational training etc. brought out ideas on how as an individual we are capable to address this problem and work towards the solutions if not eradication.

“Khushi” Striving For Change in a Non-Funding Way

Post launching of campaign, many members went ahead and took some strong decisions. Some of them are sponsoring education of children of the people who work in their house, some members have employed parents of children who beg on the streets or traffic-lights, some have gone ahead for adoption, some are providing education to the street children on regular basis, some are engaged in organizing creative workshops for them, and some are collectively taking extra classes in rural schools.

The members have pledged not to allow child labour or encourage child beggary. The campaign is gaining momentum.

To understand the problems relating to street children, KHUSHI team spent 2 days with the street children of Malla Talai a basti of Udaipur. These children when we met them were of mixed nature.

Some were keen to go to school and some had never been to school. KHUSHI organized a workshop with them and as part of workshop had painting competition. It was amazing to see their understanding of colours and interest in colouring pictures.

125 children between the age group of 1 years to 13 years came for the workshop. Even their parents came and KHUSHI team spoke to them about general health and hygiene measures. Steps are simple, you dont need a doctor here to tell you.

Now, members in Patna, Lucknow, Delhi and other part of the cities are looking forward to organize similar workshops to motivate street children and address problem of child labour, begging and vocational training. Schools are getting associated and they want their children to be engaged in such campaign.

The blog has about 70 posts and also supports information gathered through various reports like UNICEF, UNDP and Hangama.

The statistics are quite alarming. India also has 2nd largest educational system in the world. Though, with a total enrolment of 114.6 million at primary and 41.3 million at upper primary level schools, India has shown remarkable improvement in the education enrollment scorecard.

But when it comes to sustaining it, the country’s biggest challenge is increasing number of children who drop out from the school. This population was as huge as 8.1 million in 2008. Worse is out of 8.1 million children more than 2/3rd are girls.

Pavan says, “As a corporate, Vedanta is contributing in its own way. The company is already looking after over 180,000 deprived children of over 5,000 child care centres (Anganwadi Centres) in Rajasthan, Orissa, Chattisgarh and Karnataka by way of providing supplementary diet, regular health check-ups to these children. Teaching methodology is also different. These children are being taught through play-way method to keep the interests alive.

There has been a considerable change in their health, weight and knowledge now. Recently, 9,000 such children have been sent to formal schools and 100 tribal children have also been graduated to formal schools, which was a dream for them.

Keeping the problem of children of migratory parents, Vedanta got associated with a local NGO in Tamil Nadu and was able to provide help to 700 children of migratory parents who have come for work in Nilgiri area.

“KHUSHI” also tied up for the free lip cleft and palate operations for 2500 children with ‘Smile Train’ organization of US and ‘American GBH Hospital’ in Udaipur. The average spent by a patient on such operation is about Rs. 12-15,000, which is now being done free of cost.

The company has constructed 8 hi-tech mid-day mean kitchens – 6 in Rajasthan, 1 in Chattisgarh and 1 in Orissa which are being run in association with State Governments and are providing hot mid-day meal to about 250,000 rural poor children on daily basis, covering about 2700 schools.

Pavan says, “we need to get to the bottom of the problem to resolve the issues. It is time to wake up and make a conscious effort to ensure a bright future for millions of these underprivileged children in India.

KHUSHI is platform that provides a message and we propose to further increase our base.”

Rotary International – Udaipur Mewar, honoured “KHUSHI” campaign with Rotary Community Service Award this year and appreciated the efforts being taken to spread awareness towards the deprived and underprivileged children.

Krishna Poonia, the two-times Asian Games Medalist at Doha in 2006 and Guangzhou, China in 2010 and finalist of 2012 Olympics in London, and the proud recipient of the Arjuna Award in 2010 and Padma Sri Award in 2011 has also joined the KHUSHI campaign and taking the cause forward. Krishna Poonia’s husband Virander Poonia who is also her coach and the proud winner of Dronacharya Award too has joined the campaign.

It is true, “Yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision, but it is also true that, today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope”.

We know, “Khushi” cannot be bought, begged or borrowed; it has to come naturally…and in a true sense “KHUSHI” is striving to spread awareness and motivate others to achieve a positive change in the individuals, non-funding way.

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