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“People in our village, are fearful of annual floods as it leads to loss of livelihood. It also implies on children’s safety as well! If we do not act now, then it would be too late and increases inequality along with an impact on children at large,” mentions Kaustav

Hello everyone! I am Kaustav Rangmon Mahanta from Jorhat, Assam. I am 14 years old and I study in Std. IX. I live with my parents and a younger sibling. I reside in a state, that annually gets flooded during the monsoon or even before it arrival, just as it happened this year. I am in a way consider myself, to be lucky as I get consistent support from my parents and my uncle in every action that I undertake.

Poverty has remained one of the critical challenges in my life, in the year 2017 and 2020 our locality faced huge flood and the same fury of nature haunted us in the year 2022 but this time even before the monsoon had arrived. The pre-monsoon rains had caused havoc across the entire state. Consistent flood, that led to massive destruction of agricultural crops including our backyard tea our poor financial situation. has remained the major reasons behind our penury. The recent pandemic has added fuel to the fire.

Although people in my area are not discussing the impact of climate change at large, but I feel that the erratic nature of flood and other frequent natural calamities have a deep connection with the changing climate.

This has also impact on children like us. Frequent floods would slash down our school days and also might make many of our children both inside and outside our communities vulnerable as victims of child labour or child bride; since these natural calamities might also have an impact on our parent’s livelihood and that might lead to inequalities impacting us. Being a President of my local youth club, myself and other children lead the youth to take action to prevent use of plastic bags or any other materials that is hazardous to climate.

We are working towards resilience building interventions among youth. Myself and my friends have seen the fury of flood and how it erodes the top-soil every year by making the agricultural fields infertile. Thus, to prevent soil erosion, myself along with our children club members have initiated plantation of saplings in and around the village. I am also trying to motivate my friends and other elder members of community to plant saplings during the Birthdays or any important dates of their near and dear ones. This has yielded result! The Panchayat leader has announced during one of the village meetings, that instead of giving valuable gifts people might think of gifting saplings by keeping in mind, environmental factors. Myself along with his peers lead from the front to plant saplings even around the river banks to prevent soil erosion in future.

Apart from the plantation drive, we also undertake regular cleanliness drive in and around our village, to make the surrounding clean and plastic free. Every year the members of our children’s club celebrate various critical days including World Children’s Day and 28th July, World Nature Conservation Day by planting sapling to ensure greenery in the area and to keep our environment healthy. We also promote the practice of adopting locally available resources, such as using own home-made bags for shopping etc and use of organic manure in backyard kitchen gardens, using vermin compost instead of artificial fertilizers.

Our Climate Champions are trying to advocate the issue at District, Block, Panchayat (village) and community level. As I think it is extremely essential to build a mass movement towards restricting global warming. I dream of engaging children, college students, teachers and other active stakeholders to give the much-needed impetus on dealing with Climate Change related issues.

Bal Raksha Bharat believes that any climate crisis is a crisis against child rights. Hence, we are working in close coordination with National and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights and District Administration, Integrated Child Protection Schemes to ensure protection of children and impact of climate change that might further enhance these inequalities. We have initiated community level sensitization and capacity building process, to ensure communities talk about child rights especially their protection issues and how climate change or issues like flood and other natural calamities might have an impact on their lives. We are advocating with local administration to build child friendly communities who might be resilient to climate crisis as well.

Bal Raksha Bharat is urging people to take action against climate change to ensure protection to environment and to give a safe and secure environment to children, who are not only our future but our present as well.

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