Children's Consultation on RIGHT TO PLAY
Delhi Child Rights Club, initiated by Butterflies organized a second consultation of children on Right to Play. The consultation provided a forum for children to discuss problems and issues preventing them from playing in their localities. The meeting was attended by about 50 child members of DCRC, concerned Parents and Children from Sheikh Sarai (DDA Residential Colony – South Delhi).
Ms. Rita Panicker, Founder Director – Butterflies welcome the participants and set the tone for the day. The introductory note by her highlighted the challenges faced by children while playing and ways in which a forum such as DCRC can help them in sharing their concerns and finding solutions. She spoke of the positive efforts being put by the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs in opening up school playgrounds to neighborhood children. She also spoke about the ill effects of not playing and was critical of Play being driven by market forces and technology. Play today is no longer simple recreation, traditional sports which are cost effective and build skills in children are obsolete and have been replaced by technology based games which are most often very expensive and violent.
This was followed by Mr. KK Tripathy giving a brief presentation on role played by DCRC in initiating and supporting Children‘s campaign on Right to Play.
To create a lively atmosphere, Mr. Rahul, sports teacher at Butterflies conducted energizers with children. They were then divided into 5 groups and which were named as– Cricket, Football, Chess, Tennis and Hockey. Children in the groups took responsibility to moderate the discussion and document the challenges on the chart paper. They started discussing the hurdles surrounding their right to Play. The discussion in the groups captured different shades of human emotions - sadness, anger, emotional sentiments, logic, humble plea with subtle overtones of gender and age.
The key highlights of the presentation are mentioned below:
a. Limited access to the park because of inadequate infrastructure and corrupted intentions of people around them.
· Infrastructure: Most of the children expressed the absence of a ground to play near their house.
· In Sanjay colony, Okhla Mandi and Madan Khadar there are no play grounds.
· In Govindpuri area, there is lack of equipments in the park which prevents the children from playing.
· In the park located in Shiek Sarai there is no grass.
· Children shared that Bawana Dairy has no access to playgrounds.
· In Okhla Phase 2, there is no park and children have to visit the jungle area to play amidst green surroundings. Scared of the wild animals it affects their spirit to play in the open spaces.
· In GTB campus- playground has to be booked by doing payment in cash.
· In some areas the closest park is located at a distance of 3 km from home. In Paharganj area there are no parks in the neighbourhood. Children have to board the bus to reach playgrounds but the buses on this route have poor frequency and affect their ability to access it.
· In Kali Basti, slums have emerged in parks meant for children to play.
b. Unwillingness of people to share the park with We feeling:
· People in residential colonies of Kashmere Gate- DDA flats and Dwarka Sector 16 do not allow community children to play in their park.
· In Madan Pur Khadar, spaces identified as Parks by children are converted into temples and dust bins by the resident dwellers.
· In Palam Vihar, Sector 1, elder children bully the younger ones which stop them from playing in the park.
· One of the parks gate has been permanently closed in Sheikh Sarai making it difficult for children to enter it.
· Park in Bawana- JJ Colony is used for dumping garbage and defecation thus polluting the environment of the park. Adults from the colony gamble in the park and do not entertain children to play there.
· Children shared that in Kashmere Gate women in the neighbourhood are do not allow children to play in the park and snatch away their play material.
· Guards do not permit children to play inside the park in Chandni Chowk.
· Water from gutters flows in the park in Palam Sector-1 area averting children from playing.
· In Palam Vihar people are more concerned about animals and leave them to graze in the park but restrict children to enter it. They even adopt harmful means to keep them out, scaring children by leaving live electricity wires on wet ground.
· Parks are given for marriages and children are communicated that community children from parks cannot use it.
· In Dwarka Sector 16 parks are utilized as parking ground to park vehicles. Secondly animal grazing is encouraged to prevent children from playing inside the park.
· Younger children are disheartened when they have to compete with children who are much older to them to participate in the tournaments.
c. Other significant deterrents
· Eve teasing and police do not permit them to play thinking something illegal or illicit is happening.
· In Jehangir colony industries are being developed and constructed and the spaces for playing are getting reduced.
· In Bawana there is no security for children, there have been instances of children being kidnapped
· In Sheikh Sarai beautification of the parks prevent the children from playing freely inside it.
d. Limited provisioning in schools to play sports
· Absence of sports teachers in Govt schools in Bawana
· There is no organised sports program in government schools.
At the end of the consultation a home work was given to the children. They were requested to collect following information from their locality: -
1. Facilities: do you have facilities for play (play grounds & play materials) available in your locality?
2. Accessibility: do you have access to the play grounds/parks for play activities in your locality?
3. Facilities for play in the Schools:
-In your school do you have play ground?
-In your school do you have sports teacher?
-In your school do you get time (sports period) to play?
4. Role of Resident Welfare Associations (RWA's): do Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) in your area allow children to play in the parks maintained by RWA’s, if not then what reason they give for not allowing children to play there?
5. Impact of sports minister’s order: Do you know that Mr. Ajay Makan, Minister of Sports and youth affairs (government of India) has given orders to the schools that schools should open their play grounds for unprivileged children to play after school hours:
If yes then:
-is this order has any positive effects in your locality?
-Are schools allowing unprivileged children to play in the school ground after school hours?
Decisions taken by the DCRC members
It was decided by Members of DCRC to seek an appointment with the incumbent sports minister Mr. Ajay Maken, Chief Minister of Delhi Ms. Sheila Dikshit and the three Mayors of Delhi.
During the meeting these members will be making a presentation to impress upon the leaders the sad state of affairs related to Sports.
Some children could not take part as the school vacations were on and they were visiting their native, it has been decided to have a consultation with children from schools and RWA’s on 20th of July.