Makkal Gram Sabha was organized by Vimukti at two Gram Panchyats of Manvi Taluka : Vimukti Pothnal

VIMUKTI Pothnal (Raichur District): Over 528 children from the 11 villages that come under the Manvi Taluka limits participated in the “Makkala Grama Sabha” (children’s gram sabha) at two panchyats in different places demanded immediate intervention of officials concerned in redressing their grievances.

By successfully listing out problems being faced by children, especially those living in rural areas, these children became a role model for their counterpart in other parts of the Taluka.

The children, guided by the non-governmental organizations Vimukti Charitable Trust (VCT) and the Concerned for Working Children had made all efforts to make the gram sabha a grand success.

The Gram Sabha started with the prayer song by a group of children. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Baslingappa Hasamane Public Development Officer Gram Panchayath,Heredinni. He said it was important that the State Government conduct capacity building programmes to equip panchayats and officials and all civil society groups which would be engaged in ensuring that the children’s gram sabhas realized their full potential.

Maladgudda Gram Panchyat Public development officer Mr. Sandesh, Mrs. Adiviyamma high school head master, Mr. Suresh, teachers, Vimukti staff heard the grievances of the children.

Delivering the keynote address, Mr. Charlie Vimukti coordinator detailed the need and importance of conducting such gram sabhas. The children raised issues such as problem of drinking water and lack of sanitation facilities in their villages. They also brought to the notice of the authorities issues such as child marriage and child labour that were prevalent in the villages. Problems being faced by people in rural areas, especially school children, owing to the failure of Electricity Supply regularly dominated the proceedings.

The authorities expressed their helplessness over sorting out the problem of power supply as the Government had to deal with it. They gave an assurance that in the next action plan of the GP, some percentage of the funds would be used for children’s welfare programs.

The Panchayat authorities assured the children of sorting out problems regarding drinking water and sanitation facilities. Not satisfied with oral assurances, the children sought an acknowledgement from the authorities for having received their complaints and wanted them to fix a deadline to solve the problems. The authorities told the children that they would come back to them after presenting the issues before the departments concerned. Vimukti staff took great step to bring back the dropouts and child laborers to schools. To achieve this, they planned strategies like sensitizing the parents about child rights and the importance of education.

At the end of Grama Sabha, the Vimukti collected opinions of children who attended it. A primary school student, Basappa from village said that - Till now we used to share our problems only in front of our parents but after participating in this Grama Sabha, I got the confidence that I can share my problem in front of so many people and I am hopeful about getting solutions for our problems. - He opined that after the implementation of the Child Rights Grama Sabha, children need not feel inferior and suppress their feelings and opinions.

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