Vidiyal, a Programme for Street and Working Children, was founded in the year 1996 by Sakthi, a voluntary organization in Madurai. In 1997, a group of working children formed their forum, Vidiyal Vaanavil, asserting their identity as a working children’s organization involved in the decision-making process at Vidiyal.
In 1999, the National Movement of Working Children – India (NMWC) was founded, and Vidiyal Vaanavil became a founding member. They actively involved in advocacy for child participation and enabled other children to come together. Later other children attending Vidiyal centres also formed forums through the support offered in terms of training in child participation and leadership.
In 2000, the various groups of children collectively formed the Vidiyal Children’s Council, elected representatives annually. In 2003 one member of the council travelled to Geneva, as a representative of the NMWC, to present an alternate report to the committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In 2004, the executive body of the Children’s Council voted to rename the collective as Vidiyal Child Rights Movement. Members can be identified by their blue headbands, bearing the movement’s logo. The movement also has its own flag, designed by the children. They have developed seven identities for their movement.
A circular model of the structure has been evolved over the past. The Vidiyal Child Rights Movement has a democratic structure in which children elect their leaders through a secret ballot and participate in decision making of the movement. A reservation policy is in place and boys and girls share leadership on rotation. Two representatives from Vidiyal Child Rights Movement get a mandatory invitation for the meetings of the board of Sakthi.
In 2006 Vidiyal Child Rights Movement have become the founding member of Federation of Children Movements for Right to Participation ( FCMRP). Representatives from Vidiyal Child Rights Movement have been actively participating in the state executive committee and a few children including Rajive Gandhi -Treasurer, Preethi – vice president, Arunraj – Treasurer, Sivaranjani – Secretary were elected to key leadership positions of the federation.
The Vidiyal Child Rights Movement holds consultative status within Sakthi-Vidiyal, and influences its policy and decision-making process. The children use the movement as a vehicle to campaign for recognition and rights for themselves and for other marginalized groups.
Documentation of Child Participation Model
The book titled as “Participation in Practice” was published by ASMAE in 2011 which included the Vidiyal Child Rights Movement as one of the child participation models that could be replicated by other children’s groups. This would become a reference document for organizations engaging in promoting children’s participation. The same would be translated into Tamil for wider use with in the state of Tamilnadu.