South Asia

Category Archives: Project News

Curious Creator: Anand

Dariya Pur Village, Munger District, Bihar

Meet the curious 13-year-old-boy, Anand from Dariya Pur Village, Bihar. Drawing inspiration from Greta Thunberg, Anand is a young creator who wants to help his community live sustainably while being environmentally aware and conscious. He is one of the most active members of the youth coalition and is an inspiration to young and old. He speaks enthusiastically about planting trees and even mobilized people to set up kitchen gardens to help them with food produce during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Anand’s village is severely dry, arid land located in the eastern state of Bihar. The region is drought prone and extremely backward, with temperatures recording between 45-47 degree Celsius in summer. Women in the village still use chulha or earthen stoves to cook that requires burning pieces of wood and blowing into a straw to light fire. The emanating smoke settles in the air causing toxic fumes. Anand’s mother would cook on a chulha too—a fact he claims took her life. His mother’s death moved him in many ways. From the tender age of 5, Anand became socially and environmentally aware of his surroundings. His curious mind would wander to experiment with maximum utility eco-saving models to save water, use electricity, and so on. He pledged to help people around him through his climate smart initiatives.

The village he lives in relies on ground water for use. Villagers use hand pumps to extract water from the ground. Every summer, the hand pump in Anand’s house would run out of water as the ground water would dry. Anand experimented with the knowledge he gained from one of the lessons on ground water harvesting taught by experts from DISHA VIHAR, a terre des hommes partner. With help of his friends Anand dug a 3 foot deep pit in the ground outside his house to collect rain water, covered by makeshift cloth panels. His friends followed suit. Over the next months, the boys recorded the amount of rain being received and the amount of water being stored in the pit. In the first instance, the extremely parched ground would soak up rain water, leaving the hand pump still dry. However, the boys continued to record data and the amount of water being stored in the pit.

In about six months, more and more water was available from the hand pump. As per Anand’s own analysis, ‘the amount of time it took to fill a bucket reduced by 5 minutes’. This would mean more ground water for use. Alongside, Anand instilled plank diversions for waste water from kitchen to be diverted into the pit to allow for maximum utility. Resultantly, the hand pump has not run dry in the summer months. Anand, along with his friends have extended support to build similar ground water pits for the village.

Anand relied on his sheer grit, determination and looked upto inspiration from books, You tube, when he was turned away by District Authorities. This young creator is who the world needs today.


Babita: A force to reckon with!

Chaukhutiya Block, Almora District, Uttarakhand

Meet 22-year-old Babita, a ferocious young activist from Uttarakhand. Born to farmer parents and fourth of five siblings, Babita is a force to reckon with. It is said that coming events cast their shadows, Babita is one such force who would not let anything limit her. Aspiring to be a Doctor, she strove to learn–be it as one of the only two girls in her science class, walking 35 KMs daily to attend Post Graduate College in Sciences, or even by fighting gram panchayat elections–her grit is unparalleled.

Babita is inspirational beyond reckoning—an environmentalist and heritage archivist. She is a member of the Uttarakhand Youth Network, which she uses as the platform to raise awareness on environment and ecology.

The losing sense of heritage among people in the community has always disturbed Babita. In order to introduce people to the thriving flora and fauna, she and her youth coalition developed a Shabdkosh or Vernacular Dictionary listing down meticulously, names and types of local vegetation and species that have existed in the area for over centuries. The Dictionary also provides an insight into the various medicinal and ayurvedic benefits of tree barks and other herbs. The Dictionary has been distributed free of cost to community, construction workers, students, teachers introducing them to their heritage.

Babita has also been instrumental in changing the look and feel of the Ramganga River that flows by the banks of Chaukhutiya block in Almora district. Unchecked chemical waste from local factories and waste from the nearby towns and cities routinely flowing into the river not only contaminated the river, but clogged it at end. Babita led the campaign to save Ramganga which soon gathered momentum to become a full-blown social movement, with local residents, businessmen and clubs joining hands. Children from her village took up the mantle of creating a focused awareness drive among the people of Chaukhutiya and its surroundings. In her guidance, more than 200 children and young men along with the Government school children, under the supervision of the AMAN –a terre dess hommes partner, started cleaning the river, within their limited means. They cleaned more than a 2 km stretch of Rāmgangā near the Chaukhutiya market and ensured proper disposal of waste.

The efforts of the young members of the community stirred up actions from several social groups. The Women’s Group submitted a charter of demand and a complaint to the District Legal Services Authority calling for appropriate action against disposing garbage in the river. The Uttarakhand Youth Network also joined the SAVE RAMGANGA campaign and along with the Green Club demanded clean water resources for Chaukhutiya through a memorandum to the Government seeking greater insight into the Government’s waste disposal policy in the state. Following this memorandum, the Government has proposed to develop a 3-hectare waste collection site in Chaukhutiya block. The positive step by the Government is seen to be a direct outcome of the unyielding drive by her and the youth members of the area to keep their river and environment pollution free.

Babita and the Green Club representatives continue tirelessly in their appeals to the community to keep the river clean, through several cleanliness drives and anti-pollution awareness programmes. Recently, a local group called Ramganga Seva Samiti, comprising of civil society members has been formed to keep the river and surrounding area pollution-free. As of September 2017, the group had built more than 300 small dumping areas around the ​​Ramganga banks and has put ample dustbins on the streets. Today, conscious of the benefits of proper waste management and a clean environment, the community refrains from polluting the river.

Like Babita, the entire community is now environmentally sensitive.


Human Rights Council Resolution on Child Rights and the Environment

We are pleased to share with you that the UN Human Rights Council formally adopted a Resolution on Child Rights and the Environment last week. The CERI team is really delighted to have played a key role in delivering this result. Check out our blog on the resolution’s key takeaways and share the good news!

Draft Principles & Policy Guidance for the ASEAN region on child rights and the environment

Following our regional consultation last October, we’ve been delighted to support some exciting follow-up work on child rights and the environment being led by the regional offices of OHCHR, UNEP and UNICEF. During a dedicated workshop in July, a team of adult and youth ASEAN experts came together to develop draft principles for the ASEAN region on child rights and the environment. The organizing team is now calling for inputs on these draft guidelines and policy guidance for implementing them, and we invite you to submit your feedback and amplify the call on social media. Submissions are due by 23 October.

#OurPlanetMyFutureMyRights Webinar for children and youth in ASEAN

To ensure that children and youth from all ASEAN countries have an opportunity to fully contribute to finalizing the ASEAN principles, UNEP, UNICEF, OHCHR, UNMGCY, UNEP MGCY, Asia Pacific Youth Caucus and ASEAN Youth Organization are organizing a dedicated #OurPlanetMyFutureMyRights webinar on 16 October, 16:00-17:30 ICT-Bangkok. It is hoped that the webinar will contribute to a draft statement from ASEAN children and youth calling on ASEAN Member States to take action, in accordance with the draft policy guidance, to guarantee and protect children’s rights to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

Please share widely through your networks, and encourage children and youth to participate (registration form here)!

Global CSO campaign on recognition of the Right to a Healthy Environment

A global CSO Call for global recognition of the right to a healthy environment has received over 900 endorsements! We are particularly delighted that the call strongly emphasises child rights, incorporating text put forward by CERI.

Please help us reach 1000 endorsements by signing up and sharing/promoting this call through your networks, using the #HealthyEnvironment4All or amplifying us on Twitter.

CRC Reporting Guidance

We’re delighted to share new guidance on reporting to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child with respect to children’s environmental rights. The guidance is intended to support civil society organizations with shadow reporting, as well as States, UN agencies and other relevant actors. It is also relevant for reporting to other human rights treaty bodies on these issues, and includes a section on reporting under other relevant international environmental and development frameworks too. Please don’t hesitate to share this widely with your networks!


COVID 19 Awareness Program in Afghanistan

Due to global outbreaks of Corona Virus (COVID 19), our project teams in Afghanistan prepared and handed out over 150 PPE kits (Personal Protection Equipment) to Herat Public Health Department, which will be used for patients. Over and above this hygiene kits are also being distributed to students in Gozara, Karokh, Enjil and Kush-e-Robat Sangi districts in the Herat province. Awareness programs have also been organized in these regions to help people understand how to stay safe.

The Corona virus is spreading very fast among the people of Afghanistan, at the time of updating this report – there are 367 positive cases of COVID 19 in Afghanistan, 240 cases in Herat and 127 cases are in other provinces of Afghanistan. There is also an influx of refugees and the situation might require further intervention in the times to come.


Helping children and their families survive the lockdown

India is going through a complete lockdown to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and while most of us are safe at home adjusting to this new way of life – many homeless, migrant people, daily wage labourers and their children across our country are struggling for survival. In situations where even basic food is a challenge – children are obviously the most vulnerable.

Terre des hommes is working through on ground partners across the country to reach out to the most marginalized families and their children. Over the last few days we have been distributing food materials and hygiene packs to ensure that families have enough to see them through for the next few weeks.

Following all social distancing and safety norms – under the guidance of project staff – many children’s and youth groups have been promoting awareness and teaching their communities how to keep safe.

Young girls who are trained in stitching have also started sewing masks as per government specifications to provide to communities who cannot afford to buy any.

Project teams have also been working with government officials and the police force to ensure materials and information is distributed efficiently.


Standing for children in these difficult times.

Key child rights agencies in the country come together in these difficult times to stand for children. The Joining Forces India team has submitted an appeal for the most Vulnerable  Children amid COVID 19, addressed to the Prime Minister on India , with copy to the key National Ministries and Government  Institutions and Child Rights Commission. We are hopeful that this would have a positive outcome and bring into effect measures that children need desperately at these point. You can read the appeal here.


Appeal to the Prime Minister of India

Joining Forces – an alliance of six international child rights organizations – terre des hommes, Plan, SOS Children’s Villages, Child Fund, World Vision and Save the Children, have made an appeal to the Prime Minister of India to ensure children are kept safe, protected and provided with the basic necessities to fight this crisis. You can read the appeal here.


The voice of the future

Every year to celebrate the anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – children and youth from terre des hommes’ International Youth Network get together in the month of November and raise their voices for their rights. This year is no exception. Read about this amazing initiative on https://www.gam-tdh.org/


Joining Forces for Children – India, an alliance of the six leading child-focused organisations

Joining Forces for Children – India, an alliance of the six leading child-focused organisations including Terre des hommes launched a report earlier this year which acknowledges the glaring gaps that still exist in child rights in the country. As part of a series of regional launches – the report was formally unveiled in Bhopal on 22nd August, 2019. The event saw attendance from local media and charities and highlighted some of the main issues that plague children’s rights in India.

Covered on:

https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2019/08/22/mp-worst-performer-on-child-rights-indicators-report.htm




Meet Pondiselvi. A child bride yesterday. A confident and independent woman today.

Young Pondiselvi was married at the tender age of 17 years. That’s because in the tiny village of  Viralimalai in the Pudukkottai District of Tamil Nadu where she hails from, the community considers girls to be a burden and gets them married off as soon as possible. By the time Pondiselvi was 25, she was already a mother of three and struggling to make ends meet on her husband’s meager wages.

Similar to many like her, Pondiselvi was determined to change her life: there had to be a way out of the continuous cycle of poverty. Terre des Hommes supported project Sumangali BMZ-C&A (implemented by project partners CARE T and READ Foundation) gave her just that opportunity. When the project team met Pondiselvi during a survey and offered support, she jumped at the opportunity. Fighting all odds she enrolled into one of the project’s programs and started training as a tailor.

The next year was hard. Pondiselvi could only make time for her course when her two older children were at school and would have to take her infant son with her to training sessions. The project staff was very encouraging, motivating Pondiselvi to finish her course. When she did, the Sumangali program provided a loan to start her off on her very own tailoring business.

Today, this young mother runs a successful business in her community. She is a respected tailor and earns enough to supplement the family income and ensure that her children have a better life.

There are many young women like Pondiselvi who still need help and are just waiting for a chance similar to the one Pondiselvi got. Terre des Hommes works across the country to ensure these women and their children get a better life.