MUMBAI, March 25, 2009: CRY – Child Rights and You, India’s leading advocate for child rights has awarded six persons the National Child Rights Research Fellowship for 2009.
Now in its third year, the Fellowship attracted an enthusiastic response and the applications received truly reflected India’s ethnic and cultural diversity. A total of 178 applications from 22 States and one Union Territory were received and of these, 104 were in English and 74 were from nine regional languages. A distinguishing feature this year was the fact the Fellowship attracted equal representation from academia, the media and the development sector.
The awardees for 2009 are:
· Ajay Pandit, a Masters in Social Work from Madhya Pradesh, closely associated with NGOs. His proposal, ‘Constitution Article 17: Untouchable Reflections on the School Going Child’ (with special reference to Hadra district of M.P.), examines caste based discrimination and impediments to a child’s social development in circumstances where Article 17 of the Constitution is ignored.
· Hem Borker, a post graduate from Delhi University, involved in many research and evaluation projects associated with government and NGOs. Her study, ‘Muslim Identity and Exclusion: An Analysis of Elementary Education in Delhi’, will examine how religion impacts education patterns. This will be through an exploration with the children, family and the school communities.
· Ipshita Pal, a researcher and post graduate in Social Work from Delhi University who has published papers on a range of topics. Her proposal, ‘The Construction of Self Amongst Children of Communities Involved in Traditional Prostitution – an Engagement with the Bedia Girls of Madhya Pradesh’, explores how the child as a victim of community practices.
· Madhulika Nagesh, an engineering graduate as well as an MS in communication technology, she has experience with the rural development sector, and in teaching. Her research proposal looks into the aspect of sexual violence on migrant tribal girls (8-18yrs) who are away from their families, when working in the Gujarat cotton fields. The research will be an outcome of interactions with contractors, the girls, mothers, the police and the tribal community.
· Roma Dey, a science graduate from Delhi, currently pursuing an M. Phil in social work from Jawaharlal Nehru University, she was a development trainee with PRAXIS. Aptly titled ‘Lost Childhoods: A Qualitative Participatory Study of the Impacts in the Lives of Multiple Social Exclusions acting on the Children of the flood prone Kosi basin’, her study enquires into the impact of natural disasters on childhoods.
· Shampa Sengupta, a post graduate from Jadhavpur University, West Bengal has long been associated with the issue of and rights of the disabled. She is also founder director of Sruti Disabled Rights Centre, Kolkata. Her study, ‘Child Rights in Media’, will look into how Indian media views child rights.
The CRY National Child Rights Research Fellowships, were initiated to focus on previously unexplored areas in the realm of child rights. Commenting on the selection this year, CRY Trustee, Rajni Bakshi, said, “The fact that applications for these Fellowships come from across the country, and in some cases are entering into new areas of enquiry, is very heartening. We hope that this signals a much wider and deeper interest in studies on childhood — which will enable government policy makers and civil society organisations to have a better and better understanding of how to secure child rights in all spheres of life."
The research results will be available to a broad audience of activists, academics, programmers and the general public through multiple fora, including language translations. It is hoped this will influence the course of the debate on child rights and the best interest principle.