Musahars mobilising child clubs for birth certificates for kids

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 30:

Musahars in Siraha district are aware that they need to acquire birth registration certificates in order to enrol their children in schools. They have begun mobilising child clubs to campaign for school enrolment, birth registration and alternative schooling. “We are mobilising child clubs for Dalits’ uplift,” Guru Saran Sada, programme co-ordinator of Nepal Hrisikul Saday Kalyan Samaj (NHSKS) told this daily. Around 160 such child clubs have been given the responsibility for enrolment campaigning, creating awareness about birth registration and luring the children towards alternative schooling. “The government has announced that children can now enrol in schools even without birth registration for this year, but most of the Musahar kids hesitate in going for enrolment. Hence, we are working for helping the children get birth certificates so that they don’t face any hassles,” said Sada.

Besides, NHSKS has also arranged for keeping the textbooks of students passing from school at NHSKS so that new Musahar students unable to afford buying textbooks can avail of the textbooks. Sada said 95 per cent of the Musahars are landless and this has deprived them of birth certificates and citizenship papers. Khila Nath Niroula, primary education officer in Eastern Development Region at Save the Children US (SC-US) said the enrolment rate of Dalits was 50 per cent in 2000. It has climbed to 79 per cent in the last four years in Siraha district. Save the Children US, started the programme in 2000 in Siraha and has supported NHSKS to encourage Musahars’ enrolment. Most of the Musahars work as helpers in others’ houses. Some work in brick kilns. Of a total 17 per cent Dalits in Siraha, Musahars comprise 6 per cent.