NEW DELHI, 25 January 2010 – A large map of India representing the collective voice of more than two lakh Awaaz Do champions speaking up for the eight million children in the country currently out-of-school was presented today to Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal.
More than a hundred and fifty school children and their teachers welcomed the Minister at a primary school in the Chandni Chowk area of Old Delhi. At the school, Kapil Sibal participated in animated discussions on the Right to Education, answered the children’s questions and received the Awaaz Do map of India.
“There are eight million children who need to be provided a discrimination-free, inclusive education. RTE provides for equitable and quality education. The Awaaz Do campaign helps ensure it. Let us be part of it,” said Kapil Sibal, who was one of the first people to pledge his support for the campaign.
The campaign was launched by UNICEF three months ago to raise awareness for the Right to Education Act and to build support for its full implementation throughout the country. The Act guarantees free and compulsory education for every child six to fourteen-years-old regardless of caste, religion or background.
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The map of India presented to the minister includes a graphic representation of the geographical spread of Awaaz Do Champions who have pledged their support. It shows how people from towns and cities in the farthest corners of the country have come together to voice their support for the Right to Education.
The success of the campaign in reaching such a large number of people is due to productive partnerships built with government, media and corporate bodies such as Infosys and TCS.
India is home to a growing young, urban population that is increasingly using internet and mobile phones to receive information and to communicate ideas and opinions with their peers.
They have signed up at to speak up and to do their part to make sure the Act’s goals are fully implemented, not only in their own communities but also across the country.
The campaign uses the internet, social networking and mobile technologies to mobilise and empower supporters to become actively engaged in discussions and debates.
“We need to continue to build on this tremendous momentum and commitment in support of Awaaz Do across the country. RTE is everybody’s business. We all have to do our bit to make sure that the rights enshrined in this legislation become the reality for every child in India,” said David McLoughlin, Deputy Representative, UNICEF India,
“Today’s event is an expression of the solidarity of those who have chosen to speak up for every child’s right to quality education, including this country’s most excluded and marginalized children.”
For media queries and more information:
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Geetanjali Master, Communication Specialist, UNICEF India
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Alistair Gretarsson, Communication Specialist, UNICEF India
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Sonia Sarkar, Communication Officer- Media, UNICEF India
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