The wealth of a nation lies not so much in its economical and natural resources but it lies more decidedly in its children and youth. It is they who will be the creators and shapers of a nation’s tomorrow. The children of today will be adult citizens of tomorrow. Today’s students will be tomorrow’s lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers, leaders and activists. Their quality and personality will determine the kind of destiny that beckons the nation. Nelson Mandela has aptly said:
“Children are our greatest treasure. They are our future.”
It therefore becomes mandatory for every nation and every society to nurture a strong, healthy and intellectual childhood. The children have a boundless store of energy, will, capability, zeal and enthusiasm, and have the power to mould the destiny of the nation. And particularly in India, this store is available in abundance. The Indian population has this major advantage over the population of China or the rest of the world. So, this advantage has to be properly moulded and needs to be given appropriate direction. Development and upliftment of children is an important step, especially for poor and low income children. Investing in them in their early years will provide a foundation for future success with lifelong benefits for them, and economic and social benefits for our entire nation. Government of India has acknowledged this fact and has started with reforms to bring a change. It has been seen that not only non-poor, but poor children too perform well if they are provided with the right support.
There are so many examples around us, which show that it is not that only children of rich families help in the development of nation. There are many famous riches who had poor and gloomy childhood. Yet, today they are famous billionaires.
Howard Schultz, Chairman of Starbucks was born in a government housing and his father was a truck driver. Sam Walton, founder of Walmart helped his family out by milking the cow and delivering newspaper. Famous Media person Oprah Winfrey was born into abject poverty but now is a well-known face. Dhirubhai Ambani, US President Barack Obama are all examples of such people who were born poor but found their way to the top of the world.
Right kind of education is the first step towards the upliftment of children. The education provided should be progressive, in keeping with the needs of the society and should not only create great professionals, but also great human beings. Academics should be taken care of along with adequate emphasis on sports, technical areas and other fields as per the interest of the students.
The ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ (Education for All) is one such wonderful step taken by the government to brighten the future of poor and village children. Some NGO’s like CRY, Smile, Asha too are doing great work by providing education, rights, meals to poor children and their families. Social evils like child labour, drug addiction, child marriage, beggary, child abuse etc., also hamper the proper development of children. These rampant evils, if remain unchecked, will jeopardise and endanger the future of the country.
The government should take strict measures to ensure that children are enrolled in primary and secondary schools and should try to reduce the drop-out percentage. Child labour too should be strictly prohibited.
Children today are very smart and enlightened right from their early age. They are capable of many feats and accomplishments. All they need is proper channelisation of abilities, right guidance and training, and a desired environment. Given this, the posterity is sure to lead the nation to greater heights and newer worlds. We all are human beings and share the same planet.
Just as it is our responsibility to care for the environment for generations to come, we must also take responsibility for those children who were born into a world without the care and support what every child deserves. God has given us two hands, so we must use both of them to help these children. And let’s use our mouths too to advocate for their rights. Let us give them a better future and in turn give the world a better future.