#ChangeStartsYoung – Anju’s Story

Created on 2019-09-15 10:33

Published on 2019-09-15 10:36

14-year-old Anju was overjoyed. She had just discovered that children have rights.

Anju Rani from a small village in Haryana is slightly built and slim, but she’s never let that stop her from challenging big ideas and people.

From the book – #ChangeStartsYoung (Amazon)

Anju friends usually came to school with unfinished homework because their parents didn’t want their girls to study. They wanted them to work at home and help out in house work rather than spend time on school.

After learning about child rights, Anju decided to confront her friends’ parents.

But they scolded her and said she was teaching their children wrong ideas. Her parents too stopped her and said that she should be glad to be one of the few girls allowed to study in the village. They forbade her to tell others what to do.

But Anju’s refused to give up. She started a campaign, “Komal Haath Kalam ke Saath” (it literally means Tender hands with Pens) and found out more about the rights of children. She spoke to more children and created a team of changemakers. Then, she met the Sarpanch of the village.

The Sarpanch came along with her team to visit the people. He told them that they could go to jail if they didn’t allow their daughters to study. Soon her friends started attending school regularly and scoring better marks.

Then harvest season came. Cotton is grown in Anju’s village and in time of harvest people from poor families send their children to work on big farms to earn money. Anju started a ‘Child Protection Committee’ in her village to educate and stop child labour.

Due to her efforts many big farmers in her village supported her idea. They stopped employing small children and posted signs near their farms stating, “WE DO NOT ENGAGE CHILD LABOUR IN OUR FARMS.”

Now Anju wants to spread the same message to other villages and ensure that children everywhere get their rights.

From the book – #ChangeStartsYoung (Amazon)

Read review of #ChangeStartsYoung on The Hindu


About the Author

Ashwin Naik is passionate about healthcare access and an advocate for strong primary health as the backbone of healthcare systems worldwide. He consults with organisations around the world, as the founding partner of We Scale Impact. He is also a Resident Fellow at Ashoka, a pioneering network of social entrepreneurs worldwide. In addition he co-founded Vaatsalya (India’s first rural hospitals network) and Seraniti (India’s first integrated mental health organization). He also leads DisruptHealth, a health focused ecosystem enabler based in Pune and is actively involved in the sector as an adviser and angel investor.

He is the author of two books – The Healthcare Gamechangers, which profiles innovations around the world which have the potential to change the way healthcare is delivered, and #ChangeStartsYoung, a book about young changemakers who are starting as early as 11 years young.