Rail Yatri RTE Campaigners Scheduled to Arrive in Kolkata on 16 Nov

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh with "NINEisMINE" campaigners. (file photo)

KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) –  A group of nine children from nine states travelling from Kanyakumari toNew Delhion a mission to conscientise the nation on children’s rights to education and health care will arrive in Howrah (Kolkata) from Bhubaneswar by Jan Shadabdi Express at 13.50 hrs on Wednesday 16 November.

Among the nine yatris are: Mr. K. Jerubabel (14) AP-IHRE, Miss Jessica Nidhi (15) Loreto Ranchi, Miss Priyanka Tirkey (15) Don Bosco Ranchi, Mr Sojan  Saji (14) & Mr Jibu Chacko (14) World  Vision Kerala, Miss Savitri Harigan (14) Odhisa –IHRE, Miss N. Ponnuthai (14) & Miss T. Sargunam (14) TN-IHRE, and Miss Jainab (16), UP-NCE. They are escorted by six guides.

The director of Ashalayam Howrah (Don Bosco project for the rehabilitation of street children) Fr George Myppan and representatives of  IHRE Paschim Bangla and World Vision India will welcome the yatris at Howrah Railway Station.

The yatris will hold public meets organized under the aegis of children (schools, clubs, institutions for disadvantaged children) to interface with civil society, elected representatives and media. They will also carry signatures, local coordinators have collected. Ashalayam children have over 1,000 signatures to hand to the yatris.

The yatris are collecting signatures from fellow travelers in the train on prescribed formats to support the “9 is Mine” Campaign.

Representative of National Coalition for Education Miss Jainab from Uttar Pradesh is leading the East Coast Rally.

The yatris will proceed with their journey on Howrah-Hatia Express at 22.10 hrs, 16 November.

On arrival in New Delhi, on 20th November 2011, in a three day Advocacy & Lobby effort, they will engage with Members of Planning Commission, Members Parliament and Ministers to seek their support in pressurizing the Central Government and State Governments to deliver on the promise of nine in their forth coming budgets. They will engage with media for wider visibility and impact.

On the East Coast Route from Kanyakumari to Delhi, Don Bosco Group is playing a leading role at Chennai (Anbuillam – Fr. Johnson), Rajamundry (PARA – Thomas Pallithanam), Howrah (Ashalayam – Fr.George Myppan) and Ranchi (DB Kokar- Fr.  Davis).

On the West Coast Fr. Mathew Thomas of YaR (Youth at Risk) India is coordinating the entire route and the rallyists are drawn from DB centres.

On Shillong to Delhi Route Irish Christian Brother Steve is coordinating.

Launched by more than 4,500 children in Delhi, Indiaon October 16, 2006, the “NINE is MINE” campaign is a participatory children’s advocacy initiative to call for 9% of the Gross domestic product (GDP) to be committed to health and education.

This initiative of children, schools communities and organizations across all states and UnionTerritoriesof Indiais being led by Wada Na Todo Abhiyan  (WNTA), a national campaign to hold the government accountable to its promise to end poverty, social exclusion and discrimination – toward meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In response to Nelson Mandela’s call to keep governments accountable to their promise of halving poverty by the year 2015 and ending it by 2025, children in India have rallied themselves into a movement called NINEisMINE.

The UPA (I) government had promised in its Common Minimum Program to allocate 6% of the GDP for education and 3% for health. These promises best reflect the aim of realizing goals 2 (education for all), 3 (gender equality) and 4 (Safe childhood) of the MDGs (United Nations’ Millennium Developmental Goals). Governance Accountability therefore is the crux of the campaign. Children say Wada Tumara… Haq Humara (Your Promises, Our Rights).

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