Featured

Chandni

This is the post excerpt.

Advertisements

Who is Chandni?

Chandni is one of those extraordinary souls who has taken a burden to change the life of millions of kids around her. Kids who have never seen the face of school, kids who have to work at a young age to quench the hunger of their stomach. Kids who will have no life if we don’t show them a path. And Chandni is like an angel to these kids of slums who is giving her heart and soul to change their life.

Right now she is leading a Non Government Organisation in which all the members are kids from slums who have done something extraordinary in their life.

DSC_0777

 

A census report says that there are 64 million people in India who are living in slums nationwide. A meaningless, aimless, futile life. It’s worse than death. But this not the whole picture, there are individuals who have defied this fate and have emerged as phoenix from these ashes of slum and have risen to great heights. And the only motive they have now is to change the life of million others who are cursed with the same. One of those sparkling supergirl is Chandni.

Chandni was born in a slum in Noida. At the tender age of five when kids jump around in their home playing with toys, she was jumping on ropes to earn a few bucks to feed herself and her family. She along with her father travelled in groups with other slum dwellers to far off places leaving their family behind to perform street magic among other stuff so that they could survive. She took the challenge, she coudnt just let her mother and younger siblings to die of hunger. She did whatever she was told to, dance, play with snakes, do late night shows, but she earned. Life was becoming stable, but life, it was not yet done with her. Her father was an alcoholic, he died. She was alone again. She was broken, what would a kid of seven year do now with no one looking out for her. But back at home their were mouths to feed. She had an elder sister, who was married, she went to her, now she was doing street shows along with her brother in law(jiju). But now she was an employee, before she used to earn 100 bucks a day, and now not more than 30. Things were going out of hand.
She came back home, now she had only one option, do rag picking to fill her family’s mouth. Not an easy job for a 7 year old. She suffered verbal abuses, dirty looks, dog bites but nothing stopped her from doing her job. But it all ended when she got locked in jail over false accusations of stealing, a seven year old kid. Alas, the situation that these kids have to face!

 

She sold roses on street lights, she sold corns, she worked till midnight, she fought against her fate. But there was one thing that she had not accepted just like all others around her, she was not going to end up here, she was not going to live that meaningless life. She was not going to die in that cursed place.
One fatefull day she met a few NGO members educating some kids of slum and then and their she knew the purpose of her life.
She got enrolled in the NGO, firstly she educated herself, then she started educating others. She participated in events, she encouraged the parents to let their kids study, she learned about her rights and taught the same to the kids. It was not long before she met her first challenge, couple of kids were imprisoned after being accused of stealing. She went on a flashback and remembered the horrors of that one day she was in prison. She couldn’t let that happen to someone else. So this ten year old kid, goes to the police station and tells them to release the kids beacuse it’s against the law to imprision them. The police firstly took her for a joke and told her to get out or she would be joining the kids inside. She started crying but didn’t move, she called the child rights and now the police were getting nervous. After an hour, Chandni was out in her slum, along with both the kids. The happiness that was on the face of their parents was priceless. Her mother came up and told her she was proud of her brave daughter. Tears rolls down her eyes as she remembers this proud movement.
She worked hard for the NGO, helped them to open new education centres, connected more and more kids to the centres, resulted in promotion year after year in the organisation, soon she was appointed as District Secretary for the same. She proved herself and now she was running for the position of national secretary. She won that too. Now she was also the editor of newspaper by and for the slum kids-‘Balaknama’. She now started the newspaper in English edition also, she increased the circulation from 2000 to 5000 to say a few achievements.
With the help of the newspaper she took the voice of slum-kids to the government, she gave leadership training to kids, she overlooked all the education centres that were running, she fought for the rights of various kids and brought them to justice. She was soon featured in a live show on Radio mirchi, India today and then a prestigious TedTalks in Bangalore.
From a street performer, and a rag picker to giving a speech on TedTalks. Truly a remarkable story. And this does not ends here, soon she gave a speech on JoshTalks. Another prestigious platform for rising individuals to keep their mind. This 19 year old kid was chief guest at JNU college at farewell ceremony of a badge of graduating social work students.
What a truly remarkable lady. She is twenty now and has opened an NGO named ‘Voice of Slum’ for working for the cause of street children. She says her dream is that each and every kid in the slums of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh gets proper education. And she is just getting started.

Achievements of Chandni.

Chandni is just twenty right now but the recognition she has got from the society is enormous. She very humbly keeps the medals and shields in a corner of her house, and says the real inspiration of her work is the kids, she wants to change their life and thats all what matters to this young lady. Nevertheless its our responsibility to keep encouraging her hard work. Listed below are some of her achievements:

Formal Editor@ #Balaknama Newspaper

Formal National Secretary@ #Badhte Kadam Sanghatan

Awarded with #KaramVeer Chakra

Speaker @ #TedTalks

Speaker@ #JoshTalks

Speaker@ annual function #JNU 2015

Speaker @ Don Bosco Organisation

 

Speaker@ #ChaiPani Kriti Conversation

Speaker@ #StoryFindMe

Counsellor@ #TiharJail

Counsellor@#DaminiCase Culprit

Anchor@ #BigFM

Anchor@ #RadioMirchi

Anchor@ #102FMDelhi

Anchor@ #96.5FMDelhi

 

Worked with #UNCRC (United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child)

Worked with #NCPCR (National Commission of protection of Child rights)

Worked with #CRY NGO

Worked with #Save the children NGO

Worked with #PLAN NGO

 

Initiatives Of Chandni

Chandni since last one year has been running education centres on her own in several places in Uttar Pradesh and Noida.

HER VISION STATEMENT:

To educate, train and reincorporate street children to the mainstream society by providing them quality education.

 

HER MISSION STATEMENT:

To open basic education centers and train young minds, teach them importance of education, and provide them with a silver lining for their future.

The Challenges she faces everyday:

Children of the slums are not aware about how education can bring a dramatic transformation in their life, they are also a helping hand of the family, so their family does not encourage their children for the same. So the challenge includes not only teaching these young minds but also convincing their parents and guardians to let their young ones have an opportunity to learn. Even the ones who want to study, don’t get a chance owing to the responsibilities they burden at such an young and tender age. Child marriage is one of the biggest curse that is still practiced, even in places so close to capital and no one gets to know about it. Another big challenge that we face is drug addiction and falling into wrong company that eventually leads them into wrong practices like drug peddling, stealing, robbery to name a few.

How She helps them:

With the help of these education centers, she spreads awareness among the children and their parents alike. She wants to convey, how important the role of education is to enter the mainstream society. In order to connect with them at the base level, she is working along with the slum children who have made a mark coming out of the slum itself.

Taking from the teams point of view:

Firstly we connect with them through basic plays, so that we spark an interest and connect with them mentally, so they start listening to us. Then we slowly and gradually start providing them basic education

 

When the children get involved in the plays and studies, they tend to leave the bad practices, they themselves encourage their friends to come to the center. We also provide them with skill development classes, and personality training classes, leadership training and self defense to girls.

We aim to teach them for an year and then try to get them instated in schools, regular or open as the need of the hour is. Those who are eighteen and above we help them to get a job by connecting with other non-government organizations. Self-employment is also taught to those who have a desire to start their own work.

This will not only help these street kids to enter into the mainstream society but also dramatically decrease the abuse of these young gods, They will know their rights, they will know what’s right from wrong, and they will eventually help and nurture the other kids who face the same challenges.

The various activities to do at the centers are:-

 

  • Sports and games
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Drawing
  • Study
  • Mini marathon{monthly basis}
  • Personality and skill development
  • Leadership development
  • self defense
  • Motivating the individuals

LINKS

   What happens when slum kids turn child journalists?    – Ted Talks

2Q== - Copy

 

 

 

Editor at 19: A street kid who runs a newspaper

12794447_1227941220568279_318472123501587956_n - Copy

 

Chandni covered by HindusatnTimes

http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/delhi-street-performer-to-editor-18-year-old-makes-news/story-D426mHnFXzzQAnjf4duZxN.html

Chandni in newsminute

http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/chandni-street-kid-turned-newspaper-editor-all-18-years-old-34884

Chandni featured in Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2016/apr/14/street-children-journalist-balaknama-newspaper-delhi-india

Trip to Kidzania

Don’t you often think that if u knew what u wanted to become when u grew up, your passion, u would be light-years ahead from where u are right now. Lets face it, we get married to our jobs, so doesn’t it makes sense to do proper research so that later on there is no need of a divorce. Well at least some of us are lucky enough in this case, when we were kids, we had our parents, our teachers, our seniors and many more to guide us. But what about the kids who live in the slums, who have seen nothing but their parents selling fruits and cigarettes, their elders driving autos and working as labors, what will ever inspire them to become a doctor or a chef?

 

I have been working as a volunteer for ‘Voice of Slum’ run by Chandni and Dev for a while now, so when they told me they were taking almost 70 kids to kidzania I was just amazed. I could imagine the happiness, the excitement, the exhilaration of joy that the kids were going to feel when they would visit Kidzania.

We started preparing for the event, the enthusiasm portrayed by Chandni and Dev was worth mentioning, it was like they were more happy for the kids than the kids themselves, they knew that this could be a life changing event for the kids, they were going to experience so many professions firsthand, such opportunity is not given to the kids everyday.

On the day we reached Kidzania in the morning with the kids, the excitement among the kids was now revealing, they were tagged with a watch and provided with Kidzania cash and then they entered into the magical world of Kidzania.

The kids now went to Hospitals and experienced the responsibility of doctors and nurses, they went to Cafes and leaned to make coffee, they went to salon and learned the art of hair-grooming, they went to the bank, they visited police stations, court, dancing academies. They became firefighters, mail boys and the list goes on and on.

The kids were beaming with happiness, they coudnt get enough of it, they were provided lunch and after that they performed a dance in the Auditorium, every bit they spend there was pure heaven. At the end of the day nobody wanted to leave, but of course we had to, we dropped the kids to their homes safely, their response to their parents was also amazing, they coudnt stop talking, it was a moment of happiness, a different kind of happiness, that you can only feel when you see these kids laugh, when u feel that today was not just another day, today we had delivered happiness and hope in these little souls.

 

It was beautiful, those slum kids running among those pretty uniform kids in Kidzania, it was an overwhelming experience, thanks to ‘Voice of Slum’, thanks to ‘Chandni’, thanks to ‘Dev’, may god bless them, and I hope they continue doing such good work through their initiative. Many many  thanks to Mr Kuldeep Chakra (CSR Head at Kidzania) who made it possible for the kids to visit that wonderland. Our heart filling thanks to Mr. Abhinav Tandon and Lasie foundation who connected us to Kidzania. And we would never forget the contribution of our mentor Mr. Anil Chikara who have been guiding us in every step, without you sir, we were lost. Last but not the least, I would express a warm thank you from all the kids to Chandni and Dev, they have become a pillar of happiness to these kids of slum who have no one else to look forward to! Keep up the good work ‘Voice of Slum’.