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Children across India take part in '9 is Mine' campaign

Posted by John McLaverty Education and Youth Advisor

26th Jan 2012

Children in India are showing the rest of us a thing or two about campaigning with their huge 'Nine is Mine' campaign. They're holding the Indian government to account over their promise to allocate 9% of government spending to education and health.

Nine is Mine kicked off in 2006 when twenty inspirational children met with the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and asked him to keep to his promise to give all children in India access to health and education. The children presented the PM with a giant '9-is-mine' postcard containing a colossal 200,001 signatures, and told him stories of their difficulties accessing their basic rights to education and health.

One 11 year old girl told him how she had been forced to drop out of school because of her parent's struggles to pay school fees. Others highlighted problems with a lack of schools, describing how many of their peers had to walk miles to their nearest one. Children explained how they cannot access adequate health facilities and this is a big factor affecting their ability to go to school.

'Nine is Mine' is led by Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (Keep Your Promise campaign), a national coalition of civil society organisations who are working to remind the government of promises it has made to the Indian people. It is a fantastic platform for some of India's most disadvantaged children to demand that the government keeps to its word to raise levels of investment in their basic rights. Last year marginalised children from Chandigarh cycled 300km over 8 days to New Delhi, raising awareness of the campaign and holding rallies in towns that they passed through.

'Nine is Mine' in 2012

This year 'Nine is Mine' has come up with an exciting programme to coincide with the Republic Day holiday in India this Thursday 26th January. They are inviting groups of 9 children from various states, representing different facets of vulnerability (including street children and victims of natural disasters) to New Delhi where they will be hosted by schools in the capital for a week. They will take part in workshops with their hosts and meet ministers and MPs to share their experiences and participate in the Republic Day parade.

On 30 January the children will contribute to 'Public day' celebrations at the National Stadium in New Delhi, where an inclusive, equal world will be evoked through cultural dances, a candle light vigil and a parade on the theme of a poverty free India. All these events are planned a month prior to the announcement of India's annual budget. This is a critical time to put pressure on the government to act for a more inclusive India.

Watch and share video highlights of the 'Nine is Mine' campaign

Blog post written by John McLaverty

Education and Youth Advisor

More by John McLaverty