Om Prakash - KidsRights
"We are change makers, because we start the change with ourselves"
Name

Om Prakash

Country of origin
India
Current country
India
Age
27
Theme:
Om Prakash won The International Children’s Peace Prize in 2006. He was born on the 3rd of July in 1992 and lives in India. Om Prakash is committed to the rights of children that are kept as slaves. He wants all children to receive a birth certificate and access to a proper education.

 

My name is Om Prakash and at the age of 5 I became a child slave. I did slave labor for three years, to pay for the debt my father had with the local land owner. I got little to eat and was often subjected to violence. We - my family and I - had to work hard all day, so I couldn’t go to school anymore. Fortunately, I was liberated from slavery when I was 8 years old. Millions of other children in my country aren’t that lucky and are still kept as slaves. I fight for their liberation.    After I was freed from slavery, I went to school again. I learned to be a child again, play and celebrate my birthday. I think it’s important that all children are able to do the same.     

The initiative

At school, I continuously came up with ideas for activities for children to learn about their rights, such  as the right to an identity. I started a campaign for children to have a birth certificate. Without it, they can’t stand up for their rights and  will remain unprotected.  I also told parents about the importance of education. As chairman of the Children’s Parliament at school, I found out that parents had to pay a school fee. However, public education in India is supposed to be free, so I went to court with a complaint against the school management. The judges agreed with me and the school fees had to be refunded to the parents.    

Together we can move the world

KidsRights supports me, as a changemaker, in my fight against child (slave) labor. A few years ago, some friends and I founded our own organization, Poornima Paatshala. With this initiative, we wanted to help children with reading, writing and mathematics. After school hours, we also teach them about art, theater and self defense, so that they can develop themselves even more.  

My mission 

My biggest wish is to strengthen the support for children with less opportunities. Do you, like me, as a changemaker, want to make this come true? Together we can!    

Highlights

Environment
Kowsalya’s Eco-Clubs
What is the problem?  Kowsalya is a member of an Eco-Club in her village, via this club she worked on the project called ‘Our Earth… Our Hope’. By participating in this project, she gained a lot of knowledge about the environment and the protection of it. She learned how the use of plastic, and the existence of parthenium plant, which is bad for the environment. Parthenium plant is a plant that actually does not grow in India, but people do plant it. It needs lots of water, and results in other plants having less space to grow. Kowsalya wants to decrease the use of plastic and stop the planting of the parthenium plant. What is Kowsalya’s solution? Kowsalya learned a lot herself because of the Eco-Club and the ‘Our Earth… Our Hope’-project, and that is why she wants to reach other young people in the same way. She hopes to motivate young people in two villages to also take action for the environment and set up Eco-Clubs too. Kowsalya is going to do this via three activities: Teach classes about the environment in general, plastic bags, and parthenium plants. To make sure young people and children understand the effects the plastic and parthenium plants. Forming Eco-Clubs that will consist of children and young people. Kowsalya will guide the participants in this. Action! The Eco-Clubs will remove the parthenium plants from their village, and make sure that the use of plastic bags will decrease. They will do this by for example convincing stores to replace the plastic bags with recyclable bags. But also by motivating other people to bring their own bag when they go grocery shopping. What is the goal?  The final goal is to set up as many active Eco-Clubs as possible, in as many different villages as possible. Kowsalya’s goal during this project is to reach 30 young people and 30 adults in the two villages. Out of these people at least two Eco-Clubs of each 15 young people should be set up. The Eco-Clubs will in turn reach more people and create awareness. How does Kowsalya work?  Kowsalya will play a leading role in her project. She will teach the classes, guide the forming of the Eco-Clubs, and help them with setting up a plan of action. She sees it as a challenge to combine her studies with leading the project. Who does Kowsalya need?   10 members of the Eco-Club that she is a member of will help her with reaching the young people in two new villages. The local organizations for which she has done volunteer work will support her and her activities.
Health
Jeff's Anti-Jigger Campaign
What is the problem? In Jeff’s neighborhood, jiggers are causing big issues. Jiggers are little insects that nestle themselves under your skin and lay eggs there. This inflames the skin which has significant consequences on your health. According to Jeff, many people cannot walk or sit properly, because of the infection in their feet or buttocks. Jeff has had severe inflammations as a result of jiggers himself, and as a result could barely go to school. There are various ways to prevent and treat jiggers, such as paying attention to hygiene, wearing shoes, and removing jiggers, which can be done easily. Because of the poverty in Jeff’s neighborhood, these options are not a possibility for most people, which is why jiggers keeps spreading. There is also a taboo that plays a large role – local doctors do not want to threat jiggers, because they are afraid of getting infected themselves. As a result, people are not getting the help they need in the hospital. What is Jeff´s solution? When Jeff was 9, he decided to take action against jiggers. He made shoes from old car tires, and helped people remove jiggers. Later, Jeff decided that as many children as possible should learn how to do this. With the help of a social worker, he has started his own project, the Anti-Jigger Campaign, which will seek to inform people about jiggers, hygiene, and making shoes. What is the goal? Jeff wants to inform as many children as possible about treating and preventing jiggers. With his Anti-Jigger Campaign, he wants to start with around 30 children, by teaching them how to make shoes and protect themselves against jiggers. Jeff’s goal is to make sure all children can go to school again, and that adults can do their jobs without having health issues. He is convinced this will have a positive effect on his community’s economy. How does Jeff work? Jeff will start with preparing an informative meeting about hygiene, and a workshop about how to make shoes. He expects the biggest challenge to be finding children that want to take action with him. Everybody wants to stay as far away as possible from jiggers, and as a result are they afraid to help the infected people. What does Jeff need? Old car tires for the shoes. Basic first-aid supplies such as disinfecting supplies and bandages. Soap for washing the students. Scissors for making the shoes with car tires. Needles for removing jiggers Who does he need? Groups of people where he can come by to inform them and give workshops. Children that want to participate in his initiative.
Health
Kicking Child Malnutriction Out of Uganda
What is the problem?  Malnutrition is a world wide problem, every year 2.6 million children die because of this. The effects of Malnutrition is most dangerous in pregnant woman and children. Ananias has seen that the woman in his area do not know how to feed themselves or their babies during or after pregnancy. It has to do with nourishment with low nutrients and high calories. This is one of the reasons too many babies are born underweight. It is important for the health of pregnant women and children that they are knowledgeable of malnutrition. That is why Ananias wants to become active. What is Ananias’ solution? Ananias wants to spread the knowledge of malnutrition in children and pregnant woman via an educational campaign. This campaign will focus especially on mothers and caregivers/nurses. He truly believes that by doing so malnutrition and underweight will decline. What is the goal?  Ananias’ goal is to see the total amount of malnutritional children sharply decline. How is Ananias going to do this?  Firstly, Ananias will ask youths (younger than 24) at his University to participate in his project. He will then participate in 6 local radio station to talk about malnutrition in children and pregnant women. After that, he wants to go together with his group of students to various neighborhoods and fugitive camps to spread the word on malnutrition. He will lead up the whole project himself and the planning and make sure that the goal is reached. 

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