Talented and energetic children keen on action. Inspired and excited adolescents eager to share their learnings. A strong and supportive working women’s collective. A potent mix for a promising start. And start they did! In amazing style. Singing, dancing, speaking and drawing about the country, society, violence, peace and unity.
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On 26th January 2009, Chaitanya Yuwa Samiti (CYS), a community-based organization and youth wing of Stree Jagruti Samiti, was formally launched at the SJS office, off East End Main Road, Jayanagar.
Stree Jagrithi Samithi (SJS) is an organization of women domestic workers fighting for their rights and empowerment and involved in rescuing child labourers. The children in CYS have been actively involved in all SJS’s youth activities earlier. SJS had earlier organized science clubs and computer classes for the children.
The children included school and college going teenagers and young adults from low income areas of south east Bengaluru, mainly from Ragigudda, Nakkalbandi, 1st and 3rd Block Jayanagar including Byrasandra and Gurupanpalya and who have been associated with Stree Jagruti Samiti. These children had been meeting regularly either in their own neighbourhoods or at the SJS office.
Around 40 children and adolescents were present at the inauguration, with some of them participating in the events and others cheering their friends from the audience. The event started with a welcome song by a few children followed by a talk by Geeta Menon (SJS co-founder) on the significance of Republic Day, constitutional rights and the meaning of true freedom. Then there were contests for the children in singing, debating and poster making on country, society, violence, peace and unity.
Saraswathi, a second year B.Com. student from Guruppanapalya and another college going girl from Arasu Colony shared their views on unity and violence. The invited guests (a social worker and a lawyer named Ameena) cum contest judges also addressed the children briefly. They appreciated the children’s talents and creativity and spoke about the importance of forming and belonging to a community organization. The programme concluded with a folk dance and a popular film dance by the children.
As CYS is just around three weeks old now, its activities are at a nascent stage. At the SJS office, Sridhar, a 20 year old from 3rd block, Jayanagar, recently started conducting daily evening classes on ‘Introducing Computers and Microsoft Windows’ for a few children from his neighbourhood. There is also a plan to have training sessions on conversational English. Sridhar, who has benefited from SJS’s earlier summer camps for children, is one of the brains behind CYS and is studying for a diploma in computer hardware apart from a certificate course in conversational English.
Children like Alumelu and Amala from Byrasandra, Saraswathi and Mani of Guruppanapalya teach younger children in their neighbourhood. Saraswathi and Mani also run a Community Computing Center in Guruppanapalaya.