â€œThe Famous Fiveâ€? from slums
“The Famous Five” is what comes to mind when you meet five slum kids from Colony No. 5 as they pack their bags for Delhi to participate in the “Bal Panchayat”. Not only have these children become local heroes, they also have the determination to live up to the image by being peer educators and involving more kids once they get back from the panchayat.
Sachin (13), Happy (13), Suresh (14), Vijay (15) and Harinder (15), are already “Panchs”, in their own little way. Active involvement with a local NGO, Yuvsatta, towards the uplift of slum dwellers, more so to generate awareness about health and hygiene is a task these children are already pursuing.
While all of them regularly attend school and are students of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 45, Harinder is also a balloon seller. A good homework on “Bal Panchayat” is something all five have done and they do not mind taking more information and tips from field worker Anil, who accompanies them to Delhi.
Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Anil said that the “Bal Panchayat” this year would focus on rights of the child. He added that the concept of “Bal Panchayat” was initiated in 1996 by CASP-Plan and aimed to bring together children living in slum areas who then set their own agenda, debated issues relevant to their lives and took actions they deemed appropriate to bring about social change. He said the workshop would also bring together diverse stakeholders, including children, and would provide them a platform to share experiences and concerns.
“We are excited to be part of the organisation which has 400 other members like us and understand that we too have a right to lead better lives,” said Harinder. All of them would be sitting on train for the first time, and they are looking forward to the maiden visit to Delhi. With lunch packed and little pocket money tugged in the pockets, these kids are ready for change.