VIKAS SANSTHAN

CAMPAIGN FOR WOMEN AND CHILD RIGHTS

Founder's History

founder historyQ. Please tell me something about your initial days.

My name is Dilip Sevathi. But in childhood I was known as Dalees which was changed by the class teacher while enrolling me in the school. The teacher said Dalees has no meaning. To give meaning to my meaningless name he called me Dilip. The last part of my name was adopted by me upon entering social service sector. Sevarthi literally means ’one who aspires to serve’.

I was born in a poor and backward small farmer family. My father Shri Ram Swaroop and mother Shrimati Draupadi were illiterate. My father died when I was 6. I was the 8th child of my parents, who had 11 children in all, of whom 3 did not survive beyond infancy. I studied regularly up to class 10, because due to paucity of funds further regular study was not possible. Since the age of 10, I was helping the family in farming, I used to tend buffaloes overseeing them graze on the river bank.

This was about my family in childhood and adolescence. Now, I inform about my current nuclear family.

I did not believe in caste system as it has been the bane of our society, I t is because of this that many castes are held to be low castes and till a few decades ago some were treated as untouchable. And therefore married Smt. Sarita ji from a different caste, who is a social activist from Hardoi in U.P.

The two social activists decided to break the caste barriers of the society. The day came when they accepted and married each other on 25th November 2001. The marriage gave rise to bitter relations between both families i.e of the bride and bridegroom. The relatives of Sarita thought even to kill them but we had the patronage of like-minded people of the civil society. Now Sarita ji does not have any relation with her family of birth and upbringing, but she feels proud to have married me and   become the trendsetter for those who don’t like the casteist practices.

After a few years, we took a momentous decision not to have a child. We thought we would be the happiest citizens of our country if we did not add one more child to the nation’s already very explosive population. We were of the opinion that over-population is the reason of many problems of our country and world.  We, therefore, adopted a girl child aged just six months from Mother Teresa Missionary on 15th September 2005 and named her Shakti Sevarthi. Shakti means power- the moral power of a combined decision. Now Shakti studies in class sixth.

We had also decided to dedicate our whole life to the societal causes of development except the little time to bring up our cute baby. Adopting a girl child reinforces our values of gender equity and selflessness in setting example for others.

Q. Please describe where you were born, how you grew up and what education you got?

I was born on 15th December, 1971 in Patti village of Firozabad district.  I grew up in the family where the bread winner was my illiterate mother, since my father had died when I was very young. My mother could hardly count up to hundred. All my four brothers and three sisters lent a helping hand in earning two square meals for a rather large family.  In my mud and clay made thatched house I used to study in the light of the earthen lamp. I could study up to class 10.  I had keen interest in science and mathematics. Despite lack of books I could score good marks in Class 10. Further education was done as a private student and intermittently. I did My Masters in Hindi Literature.

Q. Please describe a little bit, how and why you first got the idea to start Vikas Sansthan?

In 1991 when I was 21, I visited Firozabad on way to a village where my brother’ in-laws live. While passing through the city by bus I saw glass factories on both sides of the road. I saw that children, bare bodied, aged 8-10 years were scurrying to pass on molten glass to the elderly workers for further work upon it. This wasn’t isolated spectacle. At many places similar plight of children was visible. At that time about 1000 factories were operative, where 25 percent labour was child labour aged 8-14 years. Having seen this, I felt a deep urge to meet some of these children. I then went to Sitaram factory at Makkhanpur near Shikohabad where I saw that dozens of children were drawing out burning hot glass rods from the furnace. From this later on several beautiful and useful decorative items were made.

I talked to the children and fathomed the sadness, sorrow and helplessness of these children which built up tension in me. These children told me how each one of them was living is a sort of trap or blind alley with no way out. Fathers of many of these children were drunkards and gamblers, Uneducated and very poor. Their mothers remain at home and take it as devoid of honour to work out side home for money. Many children were not admitted to the schools. Many who got admitted soon became school dropouts as they had no money to support education.  Being forced to work as child labour they contracted harmful diseases. Many children were condemned to work as child labour to facilitate repaying capacity of their fathers who were under huge debts. I therefore resolved to launch a serious campaign to eliminate the practice of child labour and to restore their rights of life and development to them under the name of Movement against Child Slavery and Idea has come to form the Vikas Sansthan.

Vikas Sansthan is the culmination of my childhood and adolescent fantasy and worry to be able to do something concrete for the cause of children.  Looking at the child walking un-childlike towards a glass bangle or carpet factory and brick kiln industry one may truly feel that I representing the morning of life, moves into the inhuman trap to meet with the sun-set of my life, for at the factory, his very existence will be factored into a series of lost opportunities, perpetual malnutrition, hazardous conditions leading to deadly occupational diseases. But, is the child converting his life’s sun-rise into an un-cherished sun-set all too soon. Aren’t we responsible for letting innumerable children lose their childhood irretrievably for no fault of theirs?  When lakhs of children are pushed into work at a tender age by depriving them of their fundamental rights like education, childhood becomes an unwanted phase of life or a necessary evil – if we think from the child’ point of view. This is what I used to fantasize and worry about.

Depriving a man of his rights is unethical, illegal and an uncivilized behaviour. Yet here, if the man is grown up the fact of his rights being deprived may be understood as a human situation which is partially his own making as his’ informed consent ‘to his plight may be taken as granted. But in the case of forcing a child into child labour and thereby depriving him of his rights is surely without his ‘informed consent’. Therefore, this is a graver kind of unethicalness, illegality and uncivilized behaviour, more so as it is perpetrated on him by his own benefactors, who seek refuge under the pretext of poverty. But what pretext is there for the state, the society and civil society if the problem still persists- very close to the time of realizing Millennium Development Goals.

I realized that in order to save childhood, the familial benefactors of childhood have to be sensitized and economically strengthened. Resting on the prevalent barbs Bachpan Bachao or Save Childhood is possible only through Garibi Hatao or Remove Poverty. Both these aims have to be simultaneously pursued. Till such time as the family elders are capable of earning more than what they earned by subjecting children to labour they will have no rationale to free children from the so-called bondage of child labour. The child may not be sent away to a factory, the latter will, with the connivance of the family elders comfortably housed in home. And the child will be vulnerable to deprivation of his rights any way, bereft of his schooling, which is counted as his right.

The right to compulsory and free elementary education cannot be grounded unless the family elders are free from crushing poverty and feel the compulsion to send the child to school, whereby they are assured that the child’s formative years are well taken care of by the school system supported by accountable government.

To give a concrete and sustainable shape to the concern to save and promote childhood it was felt by me that a formal organization is required to be set up.

Q. Were there obstacles in the beginning? How did you manage to get overcome them? Was it difficult?

Yes, there were obstacles on my way but I was fortunate in overcoming them each time I found a tough situation. To start with I was appalled by the sight of about 60 thousand children between 6 and 14 years of age, working as child labour in the glass factories, between 6 and 14 years of age. They did not go to primary schools. They were as if condemned to listen to abusive language of their masters.  They were wasting their life for 5 to 15 Rupees a day. it was 1991 when i, a young post- graduate, had seen for myself the plight of these children started a movement against child slavery and started holding meetings with adult labourers for their awakening to overthrow the exploitative system.  I faced the very first obstacle of not being instantly successful in taking across my message to the community. I made a clarion call for eradication of child slavery and later on brought into my old friends of my student life to this movement. My heart went for the plight of child labour. I nurtured deep anguish mixed with anger in my heart at the condition of child labour.  I felt the obstacle –how to relate my experiences to others. To overcome this situation, I took to writing in the news -papers. I started writing in newspapers for the awakening of the public on the theme of removing the scourge that child labour is on the face of society.

It was at this juncture that I took to translating ideas into action and took a leap from writing and speaking to soiling my hands in action and thereby removing an obstacle in starting a meaningful action that can better solve a problem.

I opened two schools one after another with the help from my   friends.  I opened one school at Navada village in Makkhanpur and the other at village Bajhera Khurud village. These schools were set up exclusively for the children liberated from child labour. I had taken monetary help from his friends to set up these schools. Thus these schools were started and the number of children swelled up by and by, but in beginning, only 20 or 30 children joined this school. I got the moral support of Bonded Labour Liberation Front but no money. At last the school opened by me were handed over to Vikas Sansthan, a voluntary organization which was registered as a society of which I was the Chairperson of that.

Then I began to organize the people to the best of my efforts and started four sided activities with the idea of child slavery. The first was to awaken the guardians of child labourers and other was to create among the children attraction towards education, the third was to observe Dharana and Corner Meetings at the gates of Factory owners and started awakening rallies among the guardians with various competitions among Meetings for Public instruction and foot Marches etc. were swiftly arranged. The third was to make a great protest against District Administration, Labour Department and Indian Govt. and observed Dharna, Gherao at the offices of District Magistrate, and Labour Department for the abolition of child labour.

The fourth was to move the intellectuals at meetings and to inform them about the exploitation of their children and asked them to make efforts for their freedom along with the press Media was fully utilized.

Let me relate the conditions of child labour prevailing in Firozabad glass industry sector. There were no facilities at the work stations of any factory as per the rules and regulations of Factory’s Act,1948. As a result of that the labourers have to face number of problems. Due to inhumane working conditions around 90% labourers fell prey of tuberculosis, asthma and other lung diseases. In respect of 9-14 hours of work, labourers usually get the payment which remains less than the minimum wages. The district officials including the district magistrate, labour commissioners, ministers, lawyers, journalist, local leaders, academicians etc. remain tight lipped on the issue of child labour. Nobody would speak against the evil practice of child labour which can be found in rampant in rural and urban areas of Firozabad. Due to poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and ignorance, the practice of child labour is rising high day by day. I was so disturbed by seeing the pathetic and inhuman conditions of child labourers working in the factories. I started a movement against child labour and child slavery and started holding meetings among the adult labourers for their awakening about their exploitation. initially started this campaign alone but later he involved the like-minded people in the campaign to make it a success.

This was not enough for me to give a shape to this campaign by holding the rallies, open meetings by involving various civil citizens, parents, religious clerics etc. to let them pay the attention of the growing problems and miserable conditions of child labour in the district. In each meeting I strongly emphasized on the Child Labour Prohibition Act, 1986 and various sections i.e. 39, 41, 19, 24 etc. of the Indian Constitution to make the people aware of the legal provisions punishable if they practice the child labour.

Meanwhile in December 1996, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India ordered in case (M.C. Mehta vs. Tamil Nadu Government) even after this decision, Firozabad administration was not active and it did not take any action. Then I started my fast unto death at the office of the District Magistrate on 18th Feb., 1997 and this information was given to all the departments that neither the government nor the administration is doing anything in accordance with the Judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and until the Judgement of the court is put into action, I shall go on fast unto death. Meanwhile, on December 1996 the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India ordered in case (M.C. Mehta vs. Tamil Nadu Government) that the children should be at once removed from dangerous works and where such children are found working, then 20 thousand rupees per child be penalized from factory owners and 5 thousand per head from government in order to make a “child fund” in which such money should be deposited. This should be spent on the education of children and an atmosphere for their education should be created. Even after this decision, Firozabad administration was not active and it did not take any action. I thought that the judgement of the apex court should be implemented by Firozabad district authorities so that the conditions of child labourers could improve.

On 18th February, 1997 thousands of children, men and women seated with me on the stage for fast after even lodging him with garlands and assured him of full co-operation. No person from the administration came. All of a sudden in the night of 19th Feb. a fatal attack was made on me and other peaceful agitators including guardians of child labourers in which was badly injured. This attack was made by the Police at the instance of Mr. N.K. Paliwal, the then A.D.M. of Firozabad. In this case National Human Rights Commission in its inquiry found that my case, senior officers of the District like  Mr. B.K. Gupta, the District Magistrate, C.M.O. and Superintendent of Police were involved. After this a fabricated criminal case against me, as a matter of revenge, was registered under Sections 147, 332, 323, 352, 504 of the Indian criminal law etc.  by the district authorities who were displeased by my activities seeking justice for children. As a consequence of this I was imprisoned   for a week and later on released on bail with the help of my well-wishers.

As soon as I came out of the jail I was welcomed with flowers and garlands by the parents of child labourers, children and workers of other social organization who promised me their full cooperation. My moral was raised higher to lead forward the fight against child slavery and other labourers. On 10th March, I came to Firozabad called upon the adult laborers to completely close down the factories of Firozabad and decided to observe agitation again at the office of the District Magistrate. At that time there was no safety of my life except the help of God. Since, on the one side there was industrial class, factory owners, and on the other side the whole of district administration was united to show me down.

Upon the call made by me all the factories of Firozabad remained closed on 10th March. The market was also partly closed and thousands of child laborers, their guardians and adult laborers gathered around the office of the district magistrate, in spite of the great force of district posted by the District Magistrate, the public down the barricading near the office. In the end, I advised the people in my address to keep restrain and a memorandum in the name of the Prime Minister was given.

Thus you may observe that my initial years were full of I tense struggle, uncertainty, torture and opposition by the establishment. But these years were the testing period through which my moral and heroic qualities were strengthened and as a social activist for the cause of promotion of child rights I emerged as an example. The incident of 1997 in which I was imprisoned and the district authorities who had wrongfully imprisoned me and were penalized by the National Human Rights commission the authorities and factory owners on alert and the concern for children was awakened in the society at large both in Uttar Pradesh and the country at large.

Q. What were the first successes?

Having seen the plight of children exploited by child labour and large number of school drop outs I hit upon the idea of setting up schools for the helpless children. I took   monetary help from my friends and companions to set up these schools. Thus these schools were started and the number of children increased in these schools by and by but in beginning, only 20 or 30 children joined this school.  I got only the moral support of Bonded Labour Liberation Front but no money.  I was very happy to note that my efforts had brought good results as the schools were very well accepted by the community. Ultimately the two schools opened by me were   handed over to the Vikas Sansthan, a voluntary organization founded by me in 1994. There was no government schools were not there in this area at that time.

After setting up the organization I began to organize cycle rallies, corner meetings, meetings religious representatives in glass industry at Firozabad and in every such effort began to draw a picture of present condition of child labour and began to refer to the Act of 1986 for the elimination of child labour and referring to the sections 39,41,19,24 etc. of the Indian Constitution. I spread the message that child labour practice was against the laws and ethics.

As a result of my five pronged approach the government also began to pay attention to child labourers with these efforts along with several social organizations. The factories engaging child labourers were   raided many times by the government in which child labourers were found actually at work. This caused a great fear among the factory owners. This was a sign of success which came my way because of my effective communication and acceptance of my sincere efforts by the public at large.

Along with this in Firozabad glass and bangle works through foot marches, cycle rallies awakening was spread from time to time. Gherao of all the officers concerned was made for the elimination of child slavery and demand was made for the enforcement of the laws relating to child labourers.

As a result of my continuous pressure the fine and penalty notice given by district’s law enforcement authorities to factories owners for the illegal child labour practices about of Rs. 2 crores.

On the 30th January 1998 I was honoured with National Red & White Bravery award of 1996. I was also honoured by Prem Bhai Puraskar of UPVAN- Uttar Pradesh Voluntary Action Network- a state level network of voluntary organization in 2000 for my huge success in highlighting the child rights related issues.

I was also honoured with C. Subramaniam Award from National Foundation of India in 2013.

These have been my initial and current successes. 

Q. Can you describe, what incited you to build up Vikas Sansthan 

Prior to the establishment of Vikas Sansthan I was working like a single man army. In a rather informal way, which at times deprived me of combined decisions of many like- minded persons who supported me. I therefore was led to think that a formal organization was needed to support the cause of protecting and promoting child rights.

Initially Vikas Sansthan followed what may be called a mixture of service delivery and rights approach in the domain of SHG Management and micro finance but we have now switched over to the rights approach, By and large, now, instead of the policy of service delivery, what is espoused and followed is the policy of empowering the community by sensitizing, organizing and infusing in them the spirit of self-help.

A significant part of Vikas Sansthan’s work relates to rehabilitating the child labour and physically disabled children. About 100 disabled children are looked after at Vikasi Ashram of Vikas Sansthan. In serving them we enable them to be self- dependent with the support of the family, which too has to be guided and sensitized our dominant approach is somewhat like service delivery looking to their human and physiological limitations and their family elders’  of abject poverty.

Q. What are your personal values and goals behind it?

I prefer to bring appropriate change in myself befor caving for a desirable change in the society. I hold that everyone should feel answerable to children’s problems. Parents owe the primary responsibility towards the development of their children. Governments in the world are genuinely responsible for providing conditions a menable to child development. I regard all human beings equal irrespective of race, gender, religion and nationality. Elderly human beings owe to the younger ones to lookafter their development.

I have two other members in my family, my wife Sarita Sevarthi and my daughter Shakti Sevarthi . I feel proud of them. I hold my daughter in very high esteem never a wee bit less than a boy. When I and my wife Sarita took a formidable decision to adopt a girl as daughter the sole purpose was to emphasize the sense of gender sensitivity of the family in the community and society around to set an example and spreading the good message.

For me over-population is the main hurdle in the way of development. Therefore, we decided husband and wife not to give birth to a biological child, because the earth has innumerable children already, who do not at the care and proper bringing up. These children are deprived of their rights. They remain school dropouts. We therefore a girl baby adopted from a Mother Teresa inspired missionary organization, and named her Shakti Sevarthi. She alone is the lovely and single daughter of the sevarthi’s. I help my wife daily in her domestic chores. While my wife is cooking food in the kitchen, I wash all the utensils. This is a message albeit in a very humble way to indicate that I hold the values of gender equality very dear to my heart. This is not a matter for lip service but a lived truth and now a happy habit.

I am totally against gender discrimination, hypocrisy and deception. Let me give an example.  Indian society women touch the feet of their husbands and are victims of a lot of social and gender discrimination. They treat the husband like God, keeping themselves at the status of a servant or maid. They are not treated as equals in the family which deprives them of their right in family property. But my wife has given up bid goodbye to all this. Sarita ji was never allowed to touch my feet as a symbol of inferiority.

Karwa Chauth is a very important festival widely celebrated in India by the married women for the longevity of their husbands’ life. But there is no custom in terms of which a husband keeps fast for the long life of his wife. As such Sarita ji ( My wife) was never on Karwa Chauth fast. Sarita ji remains on fast that day Apart from this many other points keep my family different from others. In my family matters are decided on the strength of logic and mutual, free discussion- never on the basis of conventions or religious grounds.

I am a staunch opponent of any product or service made by a child less than 14. At times when I find a lad of less than 14 serving in a tea stall, I refrain from taking tea there.

When Vikas Ashram was under construction, a trolley full of bricks was sent in which a young boy was sent with it to unload the bricks. I refused the consignment and returned it and swore not to place any future order on that brick vendor.

I am of the firm belief that the government world over have the responsibility to educate all the children without exception if they sincerely want to root out poverty from their lands. But it is a misfortune for children that it is not happening in sufficient measure and therefore children remain uneducated and remain deprived of their rights. This deprivation continues to be passed on to the next generation like a vicious circle.

I believe that a child upto the age of 18 must get free and compulsory education. This is the fundamental child right in the world over. Where a child suffers due to lack of education, the governments of the world are guilty.

I draw out women and girls from their houses to train them to become motivated social workers. A good majority of Vikas Sansthan social workers are trained by me.  On one occasion I made a person from the disadvantaged group the President of the organization (Vikas Sansthan) he continued to be on the post for a decade. I wish that people boycott use of products and services made by children and demand free and compulsory education for them from the government. Nobody should pity children. Everybody should promote child rights in real actions. This only will make the world a beautiful place to live for all.

My personal values are freedom to develop, freedom from deception and simplicity in life and personal sacrifice for practicing values I stand for.

The Mission of My life

  1. Fighting for the rights of untouchable communities, their development, empowerment and their place in the mainstreamed society.
  2. Empowering the socially excluded women and children
  3. Elimination of child labour in glass, bangle and carpet industries and brick kilns and other sectors and industries of the country.
  4. Fighting for safeguarding the rights of the children
  5. Enabling the disabled children to fight for their rights, entitlements and livelihood to gain self-reliance
  6. Ending the gender discrimination, gender based violence, inequity and inequality
  7. Saving the earth by conserving and protecting the nature.
  8. Enabling the local self-governance to deliver efficiently and effectively.
  9. The following is the prayer sung daily by the workers of Vikas Sansthan after this only the daily schedule of development activities starts.

Our Prayer

O! God give us the power, our belief did not shake up
We follow the honest path; we did not commit mistakes unforgettably
Made distant the darkness of illiteracy, give us the light of knowledge
We remained away from evils; give us good life no matter how much it is
Nobody did have the enmity with anyone, no feeling of revenge in heart
We follow the honest path; we did not commit mistakes unforgettably
O! God give us the power, our belief did not shake up
We did not think what we got, but we thought what we offered
We distribute the flowers of happiness, all’s life become the garden
Made every corner of our heart holy by flowing the water of your compassion
O! God give us the power, our belief did not shake up
We follow the honest path; we did not commit mistakes unforgettably

Our Organizational Song

We will create awareness in each house; we will change the world
We have changed our direction
We will light up the lamp of equality; we will change the world
We will create awareness in each house; we will change the world
Neither poverty nor will be any illiterate
We will improve childhood condition; we will change the world
We will create awareness in each house; we will change the world
We will save the money; we will promote the income generation program
We will promote the women and push them ahead; we will change the world
We will create awareness in each house; we will change the world
Neither the sadness nor will be any sickness
We will create beautiful environment; we will change the world
We will create awareness in each house; we will change the world
There will no more be bribery and intermediary commission
We will form the SHG; we will change the world
We will create awareness in each house; we will change the world
There will no more be gender discrimination and child more than one
We will stop feticide; we will change the world
We will create awareness in each house; we will change the world
We will teach all; free them from bondage
Together we will form organization; we will change the world
We will create awareness in each house; we will change the world

The Downtrodden Can Develop

I have a deep-seated concern for the downtrodden and the marginalized people.    As a child I used to think growing into a man who understands man and man’s relationship with his maker or Nature. But what most touched me was injustice done by the powerful on the weak and meek. I used to feel moved by the sight of extreme poverty manifested in young children of Dalit or Balmiki community women eating freely from the left over collected by their mothers after the marriage feast was over. i felt a sense of guilt at this huge gap between the haves and have-nots. There was a silent and subconscious resolution to do something concrete in later years. A fructifying idea had germinated.  My sincerity towards the marginalized made such an ardent appeal that the organization appealed to the rich sections of the community around Vikas Santhan and succeeded in receiving a piece of 5 bighas land as donation from a local philanthropist, where in the barren land by dint of hard labour and infusion of good amount of Gypsum, the staff team have turned the land into a lush green ashram –a very good asset for the organization to work with the community.  My firm faith in development of the downtrodden has been getting realized steadily.

Challenging Backward and Discriminating Social Practices

In Indian society marriage is a family affair and held strictly within two families belonging to the same case. I challenged the prevailing caste system and against the consent of my partner Ms. Sarita’s parents married her on 25th November 2001. The marriage gave rise to bitter relations between both families i.e of the bride and bridegroom. The relatives of Sarita thought even to kill them but we had the patronage of like-minded people of the civil society. Now Sarita does not have any relation with her family of birth and upbringing, but she feels proud to have married me and became the trendsetter for those who don’t like the caste practices.

Renunciation of Selfishness in Perpetuating Family

After a few years, we took a momentous decision not to have a child. We thought that we would be the happiest citizens of our country if we did not add one more child to the nation’s explosive population. We were of the opinion that over-population is the reason of all problems. We adopted a six -month girl child from Mother Teresa Missionary on 15th September 2005 and named her Shakti Sevarthi. Shakti studies in class Sixth.

We also decided to dedicate their whole life to the societal causes of development except the little time to bring up their cute baby. We strongly admits that the battle of socio-economic freedom has yet to be won for the dignified life of weaker sections, scheduled castes, most backward classes and the deprived people of the society, which cannot be possible only by the professional weapons. Adopting a girl child reinforces our values of gender equity and selflessness in setting example for others. I am firm in my conviction that overpopulation and illiteracy give rise to poverty which is the greatest enemy of Indian society.

Scientific Temperament

Had I enough chances to pursue regular studies, I would have become a scientist.  Not only I loved science subjects I was good at teaching these subjects to other willing students. I had cultivated scientific temperament by being sceptical about blind faith and superstitious beliefs. I am critical of religious hypocrisy. I never went to any religious place like temple for seeking peace. I derive peace by just helping the needy.

Philosophical Bent of Mind

I believe that God is everywhere and He wishes to do good to everyone. All that is evil is human creation because of his selfishness and narrow perspective. Solution to human problems lies in man’s deeds not his religions. Every man has to seek solution to his problems by dint of his efforts. My slogan is hail life and hail the world.

Q. What is Vikas Sansthan today and what is it for you?

Achievements of Vikas Sansthan

30,868 child labourers liberated, educated and mainstreamed in formal schools ensuring the access to the right to education.

  • Mothers of 4,210 child labourers were linked to the self-help groups in order to have the socio-economic development through 300 programs.
  • The amount in common saving pool of self-help groups of men & women has reached up to Rs. 65,00,675/-.
  • Through its 74 agitations, demonstrations, rallies, Gherao, the Campaign for Women & Child Rights (CWCR) has reached up to 1,48,000 people including men, women and children.
  • By its 144 awareness camps, 2, 88,000 people became aware on various development issues.
  • 36,354 child labourers have accessed health benefits through 146 health camps organized
  • The Vikas Sansthan has linked 8,678 children in children’s parliaments.
  • 1,143 parents, community peoples, local leaders & other people were linked to the Child Rights Protection Committees (CRPCs).
  • 10,449 dalits, poorest artisans, mothers of child labourers, exploited and distressed were trained in income generation programs, gender and panchayati raj institution.
  • 240 unorganized handicraft artisans were organized and linked with the group/cooperative for their inclusive development.
  • 245 child labourers were liberated, trained in vocations of their choices, provided vocational kits and settled in the market for ensured livelihood.
  • 92 differently abled children were identified, medically, socially, educationally and vocationally rehabilitated.
  • 31 SHGs of dalits, poorest artisans, and mothers of child labourers, exploited & distressed were provided revolving funds.
  • 673 dalits, poorest artisans, mothers of child labourers, exploited and distressed were mainstreamed in federations made for the empowerment of self-help groups.
  • 505 young labourers’ groups were formed.
  • 800 parents of child labourers got employment by support of Vikas Sansthan.

Today Vikas Sansthan is reeling under paucity of various resources, including human as we as infrastructure resources. And as such it has had to perforce confined itself to child labour working in glass bangles and carpet industries and brick kilns, their families and differently abled children only. Nearly one acre land of Vikas Sansthan houses Vikas Ashram, where activities related to training of families of child labour and rehabilitation of the physically disabled children are carried out. But in the absence of resources we are unable to run all the necessary activities in full steam. We tried to establish the Vocational Training Centre for Children and Youth, it could not run full throttle. We have been running a school and Day Care centre for disabled children but it has its own difficulties. VIKAS Ashram does not have a Community Hall and the Trainees Hostel to support its spectrum developmental activities. As a result, the community and the parents of the children are facing inconvenience.

Vikas Sansthan firmly desires to extend its support to children working in agarbatti or incense sticks and other hazardous industries hiring child labour, scarcity of resources stands in its way. Here too both liberating and rehabilitating the children is required in a big way. Vikas Sansthan looks forward to setting up models on liberation and rehabilitating child labour held captive in many industries- models that may be followed by the governments and that may promote child rights and enable children to realize their dreams.

Vikas Sansthan wishes to establish a Child Home at Vikas Ashram to avert plight of orphan children in the area by taking the responsibility of rearing up the children. Several children today are thrown away into the gutters since they are born of unwed mothers. Other orphan children are because either they are girls or bereft of their parents. But Vikas Sansthan has determined to go ahead with its desire with the support of the community and generous donors like you.

For me Vikas Sansthan is a means of development devoted to enacting various ways of realization of human rights. Instead of service delivery, our commitment is to follow a rights based mode which tries to empower people to manage their development themselves. Therefore, a strong belief in the essential dignity of the people and in their ability to tackle the forces that can crush or exploit them is the value

Q. What are your dreams for the future?

We strive for healthy and beautiful world, meaning that rights of all creations of nature – humans, animals, birds and living beings – are protected. Humans should exploit water, forest, land and air minimally as per requirement and protect them from getting polluted. Entire world and society should be conducted as per law. This means that laws made according to democratic norms should be obeyed and no law should be enacted threatening any human, animal, bird, living beings and environment. They should not be oppressed, or their rights should not be violated. Any human in the world should not violate rights of other so there is no disorder and disquiet in the society.

Human relations in the world should be strong. No discrimination should be done among humans on the basis of sex, age, colour, ethnicity, caste, religion, village, region, country, society, poverty and affluence, meaning that all rights of each human be equal and all humans should get these rights. All humans have right to participate in and take benefit of development in the scientific era and each human should get this right. Every human has to play role of child to old in his life. Therefore, no stage of human life should be deprived of development. We all are part of human community in this world. Therefore, we think and do if justice is not met to all in the world, it may happen with us and if we commit injustice with others while realizing our fights or if we do not stop injustice, we shall also not get justice at all levels. That is why we want to make this world exploitation free, pro-justice and environment friendly.

In keeping with the vision and mission, Vikas Sansthan organized mothers of children freed from child labour into Self Help Groups and to strengthen them Seed Federation was formed which lent funds to needy Self Help Groups. To further support women to economically empower themselves Vikas Sansthan has recently formed Jeevan Dhara Micro Finance Foundation - Registered under Section 8 of Company Act, 2013, it focuses on economic empowerment and enhancement of living status of child labour families and Dalits groups.

Furthermore, aside from devoting to getting child labour freed and rehabilitated, Vikas Sansthan focussed on the plight of the physically disabled and mentally retarded children, because in their cases too childhood remains neglected and exploited. By counselling the family and supporting the family to take adequate care of such children many lives are allowed to grow to their full potential.

We aspire to become a state level resource Centre for the promotion of child rights along with the empowerment of the families that are duty bound to look after and bring them up.

I look forward to make Vikas Sansthan a guardian and guide to children and women. Though Vikas Sansthan may have limitations on account of working at a small scale but its norms and standards would be universal, almost comparable to the benchmarks set up by the UNO.

It is the result of sincere resolution and commitment that in a span of 23 years of social service we have been able to free about 40 villages of Agra and Firozabad districts fee from the inhuman practice of child labour. And it is heartening to note that no new generation child is compelled to take to child labour practice in these villages or urban areas.

How many employees does Vikas Sansthan have today and how many people (women, children, etc.) does it benefit?

Vikas Sansthan has 45 employees. Vikas Sansthan. Beneficiaries are 150000 people belonging to 150 localities - both urban and rural of Agra and Firozabad.

Could you send some photos in high resolution of yourself while working for your goals?

We enclose a few photos illustrating our work towards the goals espoused by us. Please go to Photo Gallery and Video Gallery sections.