In a first in any Indian academic institution, a Centre of Child Rights would be established at the SRM Institute of Science and Technology in partnership with the Dr. Kailash Satyarthi Foundation.
Nobel Laureate and child rights activist Dr. Kailash Satyarthi on his maiden visit to SRM Institute of Science and Technology Campus near Chennai on Monday invited the students and faculty of the Institute to join the Foundation’s 100 million campaign to eradicate child labour and slavery and declared he was prepared to set up an office in the campus. This would be the Foundation’s third office after London and Delhi.
In response, SRM Institute of Science and Technology President Dr. P. Satyanarayanan said SRM Institute of Science and Technology would open a Centre of Child Rights in association with the Dr. Satyarthi Foundation. This will act as a nodal unit which would make SRM Institute of Science and Technology the first educational entity in the country to start a Child Rights Centre in association with the Dr. Kailash Satyarthi Foundation, he said. He presented a miniature model of the SRM nano satellite to Dr. Satyarthi and a plant in an earthen pot. Earlier, the Nobel Laureate planted a sapling in the SRM Institute of Science and Technology grounds.
In his keynote address on “Youth and Compassion,” to more than 4,000 students at the Dr. T.P. Ganesh Auditorium. Dr. Satyarthi said he wanted the SRM Institute of Science and Technology to be the first Indian university to lead the global 100 million campaign for social transformation. “You my young friends can be the driver of Change. Change is not outside; it is inside you. You are the Change,” he said inviting the students to play a larger global role of being the spokesperson and voice of child labour. “You can challenge companies using child labour in their supply chain. You can be a good volunteer, write small blogs and use social media skills for betterment of humanity,” he said.
“SRM Institute of Science and Technology students should be known in the country as change makers and transformers. You are the real Heroes, not cinema actors who get paid for acting good and touching their mother’s feet,” remarked Dr. Satyarthi dressed immaculately in Kurta and trousers. He was accompanied by wife Mrs.Sumedha Kailash.
The electrical engineer turned social reformer said despite India’s successful launch of Chandrayaan 2, sometime in the next one hour, eight children will go missing and six children would get raped.” In the land of Saraswati, Durga and Lakshmi, girls are not safe and our boys too are not safe,” he said calling on students to pledge to end child slavery in their lifetime. Narrating the story of a humming bird which was determined to douse a forest fire carrying tiny drops of water in its beak, Satyarthi observed, “there is a bird inside each one of you to do your bit for society and country.” Later, Satyarthi took selfies with faculty and interacted with a group of school children.
SRM Institute of Science and Technology President Dr. P Satyanarayanan described Satyarthi was “India’s Abraham Lincoln” while alluding to the late US President’s efforts to abolish black slavery. “Satyarthi has asked you and SRM Institute of Science and Technology to be part of his mission of 100 million changes by which he means that 100 million students can change the lives of 100 million children who are not in schools and are deprived of childhood and freedom,” he said. Child labour happens because of poverty and poverty has to be alleviated through education, he said adding, SRM Institute of Science and Technology would work very closely with the Dr. Kailash Satyarthi Foundation to abolish child labour.
Vice Chancellor Dr. Sandeep Sancheti welcomed the gathering after which students made a presentation of their social welfare projects. PRO Vice Chancellor Dr. T.P. Ganesan and Dr. R. Balasubramanian were present on the occasion. Prof. N. Sethuraman in his vote of thanks said SRM Institute of Science and Technology students would contribute their mite towards establishing the Child Rights Centre.