Maartje Aarts, Ger Haan, Lia van Hooff
Consultants for MIAN – Micro Insurance Association Netherlands
Blessings come in many different ways. This also happened to be the case for Maartje, Ger and Lia. Through a microinsurance project we were very fortunate to come into contact with the people of CWC and even had the privilege to stay at Namma Bhoomi, a compound of CWC. Coming from the Netherlands where children’s rights are well regulated we were highly impressed by the way CWC is involved in educating children. It is easy to condemn the fact that children are doing an adult job when one is not familiar with local circumstances. Therefore it was great for us to learn that CWC stated that no Child will do any work that is prohibited under the Child Prohibition and Regulation Act 1985 and was setting up Children’s Task Force to enable Children’s Participation and monitor and protect Child Labour and Children’s Right. We were struck by the mutual respect between CWC Management and Staff and the children staying at the compound. It was with great pleasure to see happy children living a life of education, professional training as well as leisure with the air full of laughter and joy.
CWC’s adage is “Children are the future”. In order to secure that future, CWC empowers the children in their care and prepare them for their future through:
Consistency in holistic approach
Advocacy of children
Partnership adults and children
Training in leadership
Modesty, in combination with being determined
Consideration of children’s individual needs
Offering appropriate education and skills for their development
Staying connected with the community they came from
What did we take back to the Netherlands?
There is at least one major difference between India and the Netherlands. Children in the Netherlands have to go to school until the age of 18, so it is an obligation rather than a right.
A child’s happiness is not related to “having” but closely related to “being”; therefore it is important to protect the possibility of “being”.
An important eye-opener for us was seeing how CWC is taking the children serious, listen to their needs and truly hear them. We often do not really listen to what a child has to say as a result of which we are finding solutions for non-existing problems and do not discuss the real issues the children have.
At home life is complex, often because parents are so self-occupied that they do not realize the needs of their children. The people of CWC showed us the importance of finding out what our children need to grow up to responsible human beings and how to guide our children by giving them the opportunity to grow up in accordance with their abilities and capabilities to balanced, responsible human beings.
We are very grateful that we had the opportunity to get an insight in this wonderful world of CWC and are convinced that CWC by giving the children a future is contributing to a more peaceful world.