Fr. Thomas Pallithanam SDB, a Salesian of Don Bosco, is these days at the UN headquarters in New York, accompanying a group of 11 children and 5 adults. They are there to step up their Nine is Mine campaign.
The UPA government at Delhi had once promised that 6% of the national budget would be allocated for Education and 3% for the health care of children. Even after nine years of UPA rule, the promise remains unfulfilled.
After a series of highly successful awareness programmes in India, these children are at the UN to push for children’s rights in the Development Agenda of humankind after 2015. They demand a similar allocation of 9% of the national budget by all countries for the education and health care of children.
In a truly inclusive fashion, one of the children is blind, another is deaf, two others physically challenged. They come from various parts of India, speak various languages and belong to different religions. They are capable and self-confident as they have learned their rights through the Human Rights Education and Human Rights Clubs in their schools.
Fr. Pallithanam is following in the footsteps of Don Bosco who always believed that children can and should be empowered to be agents of their own formation, not merely receivers of assistance.
Fr. MC George sdb, Director, Salesian Procure for South Asia