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CFCA helps raise education awareness in India

December 13, 2010

CFCA walk for education in India
Walkers raise awareness of children's education rights in Hyderabad, India.
The walk was organized by the CFCA project in Hyderabad.

HYDERABAD, India – On Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, the CFCA project staff in Hyderabad reflected on the progress being made to secure a right to education for India's children. However, considerable work remains.

"Empowering the vulnerable ... and ensuring the dignity of every individual has been the core objective of the CFCA Hyderabad project," said Suresh Singareddy, project coordinator in Hyderabad.

The project supports the education of more than 11,200 children living in poverty and is helping to draw attention to issues surrounding children and education.

One method the project used to raise awareness was to organize a 5-kilometer (3-mile) walk on Oct. 24 supporting children's rights to education. The walk drew more than 3,000 mothers of sponsored children from more than 20 major urban areas.

CFCA President and Co-founder Bob Hentzen participated by leading the walk. Hentzen traveled to India from Latin America, where he is leading an 8,000-mile solidarity walk on behalf of people living in poverty.

Bob Hentzen in India
Bob Hentzen, left, and Suresh Singareddy, right,
participate in the walk organized by the CFCA
project in Hyderabad on Oct. 24.

The Hyderabad walk helped draw attention to India's right to education, now recognized as a basic human right.

The nation passed a bill called the Right to Education Act on April 1, 2010. The act made education mandatory for every child, saying, "All children between 6 to 14 years of age shall have the right to free and compulsory elementary education at a neighborhood school."

But access to education still remains difficult for millions of children in India. The lack of education and equal opportunities has made children more vulnerable and denied them basic human rights incorporated in the Indian constitution.

Data from the Indian government indicates that 52 million children do not have access to schooling. According to public data, about 20 million child laborers work in India. Civilian agencies put this figure at 50 million.

In the past five years, CFCA has helped some 1,500 children at risk avoid child labor and attend school.

The number of literate people in India has increased over the years, rising from 52.2 percent literacy in 1991 to 65.4 percent literacy in 2010.

Despite that progress, India still has the largest number of uneducated children in the world, two-thirds of whom are girls. It is estimated that nearly 220 million children are in the age range of 6 to 14 years.

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