Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Child clubs flourishing

Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, April 4:
Shanti Tamang, a sixth grader of Sharma Rashtirya High School, has more things to do than just go to school and complete her home work. These days, she is planning a three-day training for her fellow club members on child-to-child behaviour.
“I’m confident that I can train my friends on how to behave with another child and expect the same from him or her,” she said. She said the three-day training includes different tactics for behaviour change and leadership development.
Tamang is one of the over 30 members of Bal Bikas Child Club at Chucchepati. All the members have different talents and the club has provided them with a platform for competitive performance for the past five years. The members, aged eight to 14, spend around two hours at the club on Fridays and discuss contemporary issues from the children’s perspective.
The club is one among the over 7,000 child clubs working in a loose network for child development throughout the country. Shyam Ghimire, 14, the chairman of the club, said children enjoy free interaction when there is no “adult” intervention or control and encourage one another to build a new, rights-based vision.
“We enjoy imagining our own world and work to make the world suitable for us. Through our songs, poems and dramas, we remind the adults what our rights are,” he said.
The members also visit other child clubs and interact with them. Occasional interaction with parents and adults provide them an opportunity to disclose practical problems they may face in an orthodox society.
Sushi Acharya, a facilitator at Bal Bikash Samaj, an NGO working in the field of child rights, says the child clubs have become very useful platforms for the children to socialise themselves, build up confidence and create pressure on the policy-making level in implementing the international child rights conventions.
Sushila Adhikari, secretary at the Consortium of Organisations Working for Child Clubs, said child clubs can be named one of the exemplary achievements of Nepal towards the implementation of child rights.
Though child clubs are very successful in Nepal, lots of things are yet to be done, she says. Though government statistics report over 7,000 child clubs in Nepal, the consortium has traced only 3,000.
Published: April 05, 2005 12:00 am On: Kathmandu

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