Visit of Friends from Afar – A visit that took our work of setting up Human Right Clubs in Schools to the next level
Taking another step towards institutionalising our initiative of setting up human rights clubs in schools with the support of Don Bosco Mondo, Bonn, Peoples Action for Rural Awakening (PARA) compiled a hand book for teachers and students. The same was released in a public function attended by Mr.Veera Reddy, the Deputy Mayor of Rajahmundry, the 4th largest city of Andhra Pradesh. Also present at the function was the local elected representatives, the Deputy Inspector of School Education and other dignitaries. Ms.Susanne Artz and Ms.Larissa Wulfert of Don Bosco Mondo released the Human Rights Club Logos and Sign Boards which will be installed in all the schools of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana State where human rights education will be taken up PARA.
Since 2007 PARA has been very active in taking forward the UN call to create awareness on human rights through human rights education in schools. In collaboration with Institute of Human Rights Education, Madurai, PARA has anchored this effort in the then united Andhra Pradesh State. This initiative saw PARA taking the lead in training the State Resource Persons and State Resource Group of the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan who in turn in a cascade mode of training imparted human rights education training to 1,67,000 teachers in AP. An important result of the training was the evolution of teachers hand book for human rights education. The hand book contained the instruction to set up human rights club in every school.
Taking a cue from this in 2013 PARA initiated the effort to set up human rights clubs in schools with the support of DBM, Bonn. To date 60 women and 158 male teachers as guides; 265 girls and 279 boys as club office bearers have been trained. 6169 girls and 5845 boys (total of 12014 students) are members of 309 clubs set up in 211 schools across 5 districts of AP and Telengana.
The human rights education effort has resulted in the state government including lessons on human rights in 8th, 9th and 10th standard text books. It is our hope that the government can be convinced on the desirability of having human rights clubs in schools just as there are science, maths, language and sports clubs in the school system. This way HRCs will be institutionalised and made sustainable. The Logo, the Sign Boards and above all the Hand Book will strengthen the process of institutionalising the HRC movement.
We are happy that the government has officially recognized our work. Just the last week the highest authority in the educational department has granted permission to continue this effort in other parts of the two states. And to know that we have friends from DBM, Bonn to walk with us along this journey is an added bonus. Many thanks to all at DBM.
- Thomas Pallithanam