“There are some things that just cannot be overlooked. They nag your conscious and pinch your whole notion of existence until you do something about it,” said Ina Goel, member of Unnoticed. Unnoticed is a group formed by the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University students which is actively working in the campus for the upliftment of slum children.
The area surrounding JNU, is dominated by slums, inhabited by migrant labourers. Students of different streams started this campaign two years back and now it has become almost a revolution in itself, in JNU Campus. Many local as well as foreign students are working selflessly in this group.
“We focus on children from 5 to 16 as we teach them and help them to get admission in the nearest government schools, provide them recreational material for their versatile growth,” said Ina Goel. Why they started such activity she recalls: “Studying in this prestigious university, enjoying its beautiful environment, we often wondered why the life of these children living in the slums is so difficult.”
“We always questioned why the basic right to education is denied to these children. Within the university was one such thing that made a group of students pause and take notice and that’s how Unnoticed was born.” While students are working towards the goal of providing basic education to the children of the migrant construction workers inside the JNU campus, they formalized themselves as a group called Unnoticed to effectively organize activities.
“Like any other children of this age, these kids too are filled with immense potential which needed careful channeling and nurturing. With this intent, we began to diversify our activities.” “We train the children as per their inclination in painting or music or dance, we started teaching the kids the same. Theatre workshops, movie screenings and taking the children on recreational trips around the city became a part of our schedule.
And the kids grew and we along with them,” said Prakash another member of Unnoticed. The Work Children recently performed at the International Summer School hosted by Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, JNU as a part of the International Public Health Partnership between different countries including Germany and Nigeria.
Goel explains that health issues are also on their priority list. Since most of them are children from migrant families, they have been denied medication and vaccination in childhood.” So, we conduct vaccination drive by involving a few doctors. “Another area of work has been health check-up camps. Being migrant workers on the move, most of them have no access to basic health facilities, almost all the children were without immunization against life threatening diseases.”
“And we found a partner in Dr. Priyadarshini with whose help we were able to do some significant work in this field. Recently we found another support in Dr. Rewa who volunteered free dental check ups. for the children.”
How do they generate funds:
The organisation sets up stalls at the University’s International Food Festival and organise Photo Exhibitions depicting the lives of these children, and also sell post cards to generate funds. Apart from that students contribute from their pocket money to raise the fund. Since, it’s a big project and challenges are also coming in their way Ina Goel said: “We don’t have any formal room or sitting space to teach the children. We generally organise classes in hostel rooms which is not a convenient option.” “We are trying to get permission from our Vice Chancellor for getting a room or a formal space for these activities.”