Humara Bachpan is an Indian national campaign on living conditions for young children in urban poverty. The campaign calls for inclusion of child friendly components in urban renewable policies such as Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Rajiv Awash Yojana (RAY). This campaign is being supported by Bernard van Leer Foundation.
The campaign aims to:
- Facilitate children’s forums and network with organisations working with children to advocate for a safe physical environment for children.
- Understand how young children percieve and use their physical environment.
- Create opportunities for children and teenagers’ participation and leadership through an empowering process.
- Respect young children’s creative thinking and capacities to advocate for change.
- Educate policy makers, practitioners, and the civil society about research outcomes and processes on the importance of safe and healthy physical space in the development of young children.
- Ensure change in urban renewal and related urban development programmes and policies such as JNNURM and RAY, and
- Lobby for inclusion of a separate chapter on children’s participation to make them more child friendly.
For example, in Odisha, the Humara Bachpan campaign was launched by the Minister of Housing and Urban Development (H&UD) on May 8 2013, with support of that department in building safe and healthy physical environments for children. The website, YouTube channel, and Facebook page provide social media for the campaign. The Urban Minister released a budget analysis of H&UD, Government of Odisha, and "Governance and Urban Poor", a policy watch of Humara Bachpan for the urban economically poor children. A short documentary, "City's stepchild," directed by Pranab ku Aich was also screened on the eve of the launch ceremony, showing the lives of 6 children who are living in slums of Delhi, Bhubaneswar, and Hyderabad. The launch included a two-day photograph, painting, and clay model exhibition on the theme of a safe and healthy physical environment for young urban economically poor children. Children from Berhampur and Bhubaneswar highlighted their issues and dreams through a short play on the occasion of the launch.
Additional activities include the following: Prior to the launch, May 6 2013, 20 migrant children from a brick kiln area of greater Bhubaneswar (the operational area of the Aide et Action pilot project Early Childhood Education (ECE) for young migrant children) actively participated in the national campaign, meeting with local village children. (Aide et Action and the Bernard van Leer Foundations are studying the living conditions of migrants in Bhubaneswar, including the conditions of children, reported in Early Childhood Matters, November 2013 - see related summary below). The campaign has organised meetings of children with their mayor, as in Bhubaneswar, where 100 children had a dialogue with the city mayor. It has arranged workshops using clay to encourage children to create physical environments, understand rights about better living spaces, and share ideas with campaign representatives. The campaign has brought together migrant children from the brick kiln area with village children. The campaign has publicised such assessments as water audits in urban neighbourhoods to make public the lack of access to drinking water.
According to the campaign website, 7.6 million Indian urban children live in sub-standard housing. Odisha has 17% of its population living in urban areas, of which 10% are children living in informal slum settlements.
This video is from the Humara Bachpan YouTube channel.
Bernard van Leer Foundation, Aide et Action