Published on 13 March 2008
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2007: Indian Schools, Academics, Universities, and the CHR

by Sudha REDDY
Associated Central Topics: Education and responsibility .

I. Indian Schools and the CHR [1]:

1. Charter of Human Responsibilities and Mainstream Education, CSR of Edutainment Company, The Activity:

India-Philippines cultural exchange of Youth program:

The Indian Charter team, in collaboration with The Activity, an edutainment company, in a six-month-long process, has successfully facilitated to draft the Indian Children’s Charter of Social and Environmental Responsibilities. This process, which was also India’s largest literary & cultural event, in which 1.149 schools in 25 cities participated. At the start of this mega event, 133,300 students in the age group of 8 – 16 years were involved. At each city level, preliminary selections were done through competitions in the schools. Further competition between the winners of the schools lead to the selection of two representatives of the 25 cities. 50 children gathered together for the final competition and lived a collective studious and entertaining experience in Bangalore.
The main objectives of the Indian Charter team in our collaboration with Activity is to disseminate the Charter of Human Responsibilities to the children, parents, teachers and to kindle in them the awareness of the basic human values leading to a peaceful and harmonious world. By endorsing the Charter, Activity introduces it also in the corporate sector.
During the final selection round of WIZ Kids, the children had an opportunity to work together in an interactive workshop, in which the children drafted up an “Indian Children Charter of Social and Environmental Responsibilities.” After the children had prepared the final draft of their Charter, some time was spent for sharing with them the Brazilian children Charter of Environmental Responsibilities. They were pleasantly surprised to realize that there are children on the other side of the world who have similar concerns and willingness to assume responsibilities for the future of their lives and the safeguard of our planet. Report of this activity was already in the CHR website here.

As a part of India-Philippines cultural exchange of Youth program, four winners-WIZ kids team accompanied by five adults made a memorable trip to Philippines. The entire program for Indian visitors was hosted by Ms. Pinky Cupino, South East coordinator and her Philippines Charter team. We were enthralled by the warm hospitality and professional management of Philippines charter team. We are grateful to Pinky and her eclectic team for their love care and concern, their professionally organized exposure visits to diverse communities and groups, meaningful interactions and of course pleasing varied needs of all Indian visitors with patience and understanding. We all cherish the love bestowed on us and memorable experiences in our hearts for ever. The young Indians were exposed to the harsh realities of indigenous and urban poor communities, It was a fun learning experience for the Indian youth to have had interactions with young Filipino students, activists and of course, wonderstruck by gigantic shopping malls.

After their return from Manila the experience of practicing ‘responsibility’ in their schools and neighborhoods and drafting Indian Children’s Charter of Social and Environmental Responsibilities and exposure to diverse cultures and people has motivated these children to share their feelings, reflections, experiences in the form of essays and finally a pleading letter to the President of India in May 07 about the Charter of Human Responsibilities.
This learning experience of Philippines has further motivated the company ‘The Activity and GSK to extend their support in emphasizing the responsibilities through the Charter among the schools and students in their ongoing program of WIZ kids Team 2007.

2. Further strengthening of the Charter process among the children –WIZ kids team 2007 program:

Consolidated ‘The Indian Children Charter of Human Responsibilities-2007’: Similar process of kindling the value of practicing responsibility as a fundamental value has been carried out with the new WIZ kids 2007 program in collaboration with The Activity. Ms Isis de PALMA, Coordinator of Brazil and her Charter facilitation team has graciously agreed to host the young winners of WIZ kids in Brazil in 2008.

Please look at the following links:
http://www.deccanherald.com/Content... (video)

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CHR workshop for the wiz kids

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Winners 2007-08

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Wiz kids 2007-08 endorsing CHR

3. Integrating the Charter principles in Life Skill Education by ‘The Activity’- ‘Road show’

With the experience of having witnessed the enthusiastic response of Indian middle class children to the notion of responsibility and the Charter, Activity has further taken the Charter to integrate in life skill education for 10000 lower middle and poor students in 35 Government schools of Bangalore and Hubli districts in Karnataka.

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Road show on rights to education - life skills education

On the 29th of December 07, ‘The Akshaya Life Skills’ team’ organized an awareness campaign, ‘Road show ‘by 433 students & teachers from local Government Schools, primarily catering to Muslims population located in a poor but a communally sensitive area in Bangalore. Initially the school authorities refused to permit the Muslim girls to participate in the Road show on issues like girls’ education, environment, health and hygiene and Child labor. After the discussion, the girls were allowed to participate in the campaign. While walking through the streets with placards on the issues written in the local languages- Kannada and Urdu, the appeal of students touched the hearts of the local people.

4. The CHR encompassing the youth further by ‘Activ8 Foundation’, at the national level:

Inspired by encompassing the nature of Responsibility, a well known national youth organization called ‘Activ8 Foundation’, with its over one million active youth members, is keen on using the CHR as guidelines in “Eradicate poverty Campaign” by creating awareness on social, environmental, cultural and political issues and Millennium Development Goals among Indian youth at national level. Several proposals are in the process to introduce the CHR through workshops, rallies and preparation of manuals with their National coordinator- (Millennium Development Goals and Eradicate Poverty Campaign).

5. Charter of Human Responsibilities in the Convention of ’Indian Catholic Youth Movement’:

In association with ‘Activ8 Foundation’ the CHR was introduced in the convention of ’Indian Catholic Youth Movement’ in Cuttack, Orissa in October 07, where about 2000 youth from all over the India gathered to celebrate unity in diversity and discuss several social issues from secular perspective. The theme was “Prophetic Youth for a progressive nation” with thrust on spiritual awakening, health, and socio political leadership & life skills.

During the interactive workshop it was a joy to dialogue with these youth from diverse regions, socio-economic backgrounds and ethnic cultures but bound by deep faith in Jesus. The soil was already fertile to emphasize on the service and humane values. The challenge was to raise critical thinking about the notion of responsibility in the educated young Indians’ consciousness especially in terms of gender relations as the deep rooted patriarchal values are being strongly entrenched in their mindset.

CHR was well received by the young as well as by Bishops, priests & nuns present in the convention. The convention was concluded with massive procession for Human Rights by about 3000 young people on the streets of the city.

II. Academics, Universities, and the CHR:

1. The CHR at Gulbarga University, Karnataka:

Responsibilities of youth, teachers and relevance of the CHR’ has been discussed in an interactive session organized by political science Faculty, Gulbarga University in June 07.

2. The CHR at the Indian Academy of Business:

In December 07, one day seminar on ‘Globalization, Cosmopolitanism and culture’ was organized by Indian Academy of Business, Bangalore. Several views and actions on the ethical and social responsibilities of business entrepreneurs/ civil society were debated among the students, faculty and the invitees from different parts of the country. The Charter of Human Responsibilities had become significantly relevant in their discussions.

3. Proposed Workshop on ‘Uniting in Responsibilities in a culture of Rights- Locating Possibilities” at Bangalore University:

In association with the Center of Gandhian Studies of Bangalore University, we intend to conduct a workshop of 3 days at south Asian level on Uniting in Responsibilities in a culture of Rights- Locating Possibilities in April 2008.
With this venture we propose to create a common platform bringing together academicians, spiritual leaders, lawyers, peace & human rights activists, local community leaders and intellectuals of various denominations to discus ethical norms involving Rights and Responsibilities in relation to the impact of globalization on India and Asian countries. The outcome of the workshop will be drawing up of an Indian Charter of Human Responsibilities with a definite nonviolent orientation, and the publication of an all-comprehensive Report.

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[1] Charter of Human Responsibilities


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