Right to Play
Play, recreation and sports are considered to be cornerstone of children’s health and well-being and researchers have found its positive impact on the life of children. Playing together provides opportunities for social, moral as well as emotional development hence counts as a vehicle for personality development. In addition to this advantage, play erodes the boundaries of caste, religion, color and gender.
In spite of the importance is given by researches from a range of disciplines including education, psychology, philosophy and anthropology, millions of children are denied opportunities for play and recreation due to varying reasons. Causes vary from war, diseases, abilities, poverty and lack or recognition of the importance or misconceptions on play and recreational activities. Responding to this, Butterflies, has been organizing number of programmes to promote play and recreation among children since its inception in 1989. Research reports of Butterflies have also been helped to bring out the issues pertaining to children’s right to play especially in the city of Delhi.
A research study conducted by Butterflies in 2010 revealed that street, working and vulnerable children in the city are denied access to playgrounds and other recreation facilities. About 80% schools in Delhi have playgrounds of which the upper primary schools have the highest number of playgrounds. The Delhi government has granted land to many schools that do not pay commercial taxes and rents to the government for the land allotted to them. It has been verified during a survey that many of them do not give open access to children after school hours. The study further revealed that schooling is not yet universal with an estimated 103,643 out-of-school children in Delhi. The debate on integration of sports into school curriculum should also consider this large section of children who are out of school and their right to play.
Butterflies also organized a Campaign, ‘Children’s Right to Play’ in 2010 with an objective to bring this issue into the mainstream of national discourse on child rights. As part of the campaign, Butterflies conducted research, organised advocacy and sports events and constituted a Working Group of experts on the subject not only to build a memorandum for his campaign but also to claim the spaces such as big stadiums and sports complexes which are not easily accessible for the children of the city.
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