Auto drivers for child rights

Auto drivers for child rights

Ever thought an autorickshaw ride could leave you a better informed person? If you happen to travel in Suresh Kumar's autorickshaw in the City, you will receive a handful of information on child rights and child protection.

Recent instances of child sexual abuse has prompted Kumar to carry pamphlets on the Pocso Act and other regulations pertaining to child rights. Any passenger is free to pick one up and educate themselves as they ride to their destination. For passengers interested in school admissions for their wards under the Right to Education Act, he talks to them about the rules and procedure to be followed.

“If passengers are traveling with children, I take special interest in talking to them about child rights. In the wake of the recent crimes against children in schools, most parents express insecurity about their children’s safety. I try to give them as much information as possible from my end,” Suresh Kumar told Deccan Herald.

This year, he successfully admitted his child to Class I under the RTE quota. Since then, he has been actively creating awareness about the admission procedure through the RTE Task Force. He has distributed more than 200 applications for RTE admissions and has facilitated admissions for nearly twenty students by providing timely information to parents.

Kumar is not alone in this endeavour. Another auto driver Prakash has put up a banner on his auto about child protection. “People take a moment to go through the details on the banner when I stop my auto at traffic signals. Some times, people request me to stop the auto for a longer time so that they can read all the information,” Prakash said.

In fact, a group of 54 auto driver-activists are all set to do their bit for child rights. From January 2, 2015, these drivers will go around in their autos creating awareness about child rights and protection. Nagasimha G Rao, one of the co-ordinators of the RTE Task Force told Deccan Herald that the drivers will be spreading information through micro phones.

“It will be both about the RTE admissions and other issues pertaining to child rights. To ensure that it is not limited to just the City, the drivers will take up the initiative in places like Ramanagara, Kengeri, Bidadi and Anekal.

The auto drivers are taking up the project for free and are not charging any transport fare. While one would often tend to associate auto drivers with exorbitant fares, this initiative has given optimism for the RTE Task Force to carry forward projects that engage people, Rao added.

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