The structure of Vidiyal Child Rights Movement involves the following important components
Children’s forums are known as Arangam which forms the basic structure of Vidiyal Child Rights Movement. Children living in a particular area or children belonging to a specific age group come together and form their base group. Children forming a base group discuss and decide a name for their forum and elect the Head and the Secretary for their forum who become representatives / spokes persons for their respective forums. At present there are 11 children’s forums functioning with in Vidiyal Child Rights Movement whose names are Malalayar (Tiny Tots) Thulirhal (Tender Leaves), Sirpihal ( Sculptors), Vithaihal (Seeds), Verhal (Roots), Deepangal (Lamps),Sirahuhal (Feathers) Nila (Moons), Alaihal (Waves) Vannangal (Colours) and Poonthalir ( Young Leaves)
The children’s forums plans, execute, evaluate various activities in line with the objectives of their movement and actively involved in receiving and sharing information in the Children’s Council.
The Head of each children’s’ forum represent their forum in the Children’s Council – the governing body of Vidiyal Child Rights Movement and actively involved in the larger planning of the Child Rights Movement. Each forum decides for a subscription which is pooled and used as a resource within the movement. They get involved in informed budget planning and decision making regarding matters concerning them.
These base groups are federated and form the General Body of Vidiyal Child Rights Movement. The members of the General Body have the right to elect the President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Child Rights Movement. They do have the power to recall any leadership found ineffective or indiscipline.
Once children becoming the members of the General Body of Vidiyal Child Rights Movement, they have opportunities to enroll themselves in the service teams and skill development forums to enhance their participation and their capacities.
Service teams are developed to serve the fellows of Vidiyal Child Rights Movement. Children play an active role in the administration of the service teams and they do participate in the decision making process of these teams. Their leadership potential is nurtured and enhanced.
THE SPORTS TEAM
Play and Recreation are right of every child. The sports team functions to ensure that children get opportunities to play. Apart from this periodical training in sports and games are conducted. Annual Pongal sports meet is organised by the team in the month of January to provide opportunities to the members of the children movement to exhibit their talents in sports.
THE SPONSORSHIP TEAM
This team serves those children who are under the sponsorship programme. Special programmes and events are planned for the children and their needs are brought to the notice of Sakthi – Vidiyal for effective implementation. Sponsors day celebrations are very popular among children. Children with regular attendance are provided with sponsorship and they are motivated to reach greater heights.
SITRALAI VATTAM :
Sitralai vattam in Tamil means ‘Ripples circle’ which is a symbolic expression of the ripples that are created in the minds of children when their thought process is kindled through sessions on social issues. Children who are members of this forum are exposed to varied social issues and sensitivity is being developed. This is also known as the thinker’s forum at Vidiyal, aims at developing lateral thinking in children and to enable them to evolve solutions for the issues around them. This forum meets once a month and reflect on a particular topic. Various concepts and ideologies are introduced to develop the quality of critiquing and questioning in children. This forum plans community interventions and plans action programmes thus called the Social Action forum of Vidiyal Child Rights Movement. A few important achievements of this forum include the following interventions.
• 2005 May – Our children served as peer educators at the trauma intervention camps – Nambikkai (Hope) camps, organized for the children affected by the Tsunami havoc at Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Colochel and Chennai.
• 2007 May – Urchaha Camp on Psycho social care with the tribal children in Thenkanikottai.
• 2008 May – Campaigning for the educational rights of the Arunthathiyar children in Theni district. Our children rallied in 50 cycles into 49 villages partnered with another 50 cyclists from Arogya Agam.
• 2009 May – Our children stayed in Kurumalai village, in Tuticorin district and showed solidarity with the villagers in their struggle against quarrying which destroys Kurumalai hillock.
• 2012 February – The children of Vidiyal Child Rights Movement organized trauma intervention camps titled as ‘Puthunarvu (Rejuvenation) camp for the children affected by Thane cyclone at Cuddalore and Pondicherry. They reached 100 children in each place and distributed kits with the funds they raised for relief materials.
• 2014 January – Our children organized Tholamai (Solidarity) camp Kombaikadu tribal hamlet in the Palani hill range of the Western Ghats. They worked on cleaning the village and renovating the residential school of Tribal children. They also raised funds and distributed play kits to the kids which the tribal children appreciated. The camp fire with the tribal youth was good fun.
On an average 45 children take membership in this forum.
THE CHILDREN’S LIBRARY
The Vidiyal Children’s Library functions effectively. The entire management of the library is done by a group of children who opt for such a service to their fellow children. They were supported by one of our volunteers. Children were given regular inputs in library science and other related skills in managing the library. They do organise “Readers Circles” and kindle the interest of reading among children.
The specialty of Vidiyal Child Rights Movement lays on its strong internal governance structure. The entire affairs related to the functioning of the movement is owned and governed by children themselves. The senior children with appropriate skills, commits to be the young facilitators of the movement. The Young Facilitators forum is called ‘Valikaatihl’. This group undergoes intensified training in Child Rights, Child Participation, Facilitation skill, leadership, problem solving and governance of children’s structures.
Depending on the need of particular time or programme this group engages in facilitating the Vidiyal Child Rights Movement. They do facilitate training sessions for children on various topics. When they receive invitation from other voluntary organizations, children’s organizations and children’s networks they share their expertise and eagerly facilitate sessions for them.
SKILL DEVELOPMENT FORUMS
THE SCIENCE FORUM
The science forum functions to kindle the interest in the field of science in our children. Monthly sessions are organised on various fields in science which helps children to receive information in those fields. A volunteer supports the forum as a facilitator. Resource persons are invited from local schools, colleges and voluntary organisations to share their expertise in every field of science. 60 children take membership in the science forum.
THE TAMIL FORUM
The objective of the Tamil forum is to develop language skills in Tamil and public speaking skills in children. Tamil is an ancient language and known for its richness in literary work. A volunteer is in charge of the forum to enable children to master the exercises designed for each month. Twice a year external resource persons are invited to demonstrate higher skills in public speaking. 30 children take membership in the Tamil Forum.
NILAL (Image) – THE MOVIE CLUB AT VIDIYAL
Media has great influence in today’s children. Instead of just criticizing media for its adverse effects, this club tries to introduce world cinemas and classical movies that are depicting real life and its nuances. The movie club at Vidiyal provides children opportunities to watch acclaimed movies, documentaries and short films. Children also develop critiquing skills and ultimately they develop taste for alternate media and become passionate towards watching world class movies.
THE MARTIAL ART GROUP
As part of the Self Confidence building children sign up for learning Karate. Week end classes are organized. They do demonstrations and participate in local to National competitions. Children undergo a grading examination and secure yellow belt to black belt in a period of three years time.
THE DRAWING AND PAINTING FORUM
Children with artistic talents and skills in Drawing and Painting join this forum. Monthly training sessions are organised by the leader of the forum. They do organise exhibitions during the rights festival.
THE CHILDREN’S THEATRE GROUP
Children who have the potential in theatre skills join this team and participate in producing and enacting plays on social themes and child rights.
Vidiyal’s children celebrate their rich heritage through the learning and performance of arts specific to Tamilnadu. Children use theatre to enact children’s themes and as the medium to spread the message of child rights and social change. The theatre group provokes reaction by their thoughtful portrayal of existing discriminatory practices and violation of child rights and sounds the clarion call for social change in the individual, family and society. Children through the fantasy of drama reclaim their rights and their opportunities and break through their boundaries of marginalization to create new beginnings. Children have performed in over 175 forums and have received widespread appreciation.