School makes kids CRY (DNA)
"It was an event that brought to the fore the problems of the state's poor children. At a forum in the city, many were incredulous that the children could articulate their problems with such clarity.
"The children at the public hearing were brought to Bangalore from across the state. They were at the hearing organized by the NGO, Child Rights and You (CRY) on Friday.
"Most of the children were dropouts from school, who wished to continue studying. Rekha, 14, from Hassan district said, 'I have studied till class 9. My teacher used to compare me with students from the upper castes, and ask me not to come to school at all. Not just that, the school had no toilet or drinking water, and roof was the sort that might just cave in. I would like to study, but not at that school, not with that teacher.'
"Lakshmi, 15, from Bijapur said, 'I am physically challenged. It was difficult for me even to reach school. I was regular in my attendance, however, but my teachers told me that I am a 'dalit and handicapped', and that I need not come to school. I studied till class 7. I would like to continue studying further. But I would like to go to a school where I'm not treated any differently.'
"Kavya, 12, came to Bangalore from Ramanagar. 'There is one anganawadi [government-sponsored daycare center] in my village. The teachers there do not allow us, dalits, to sit with the other children. My brother was going to that anganawadi, but my parents stopped sending him there because they would not let him mix with the other children. My brother was told not to touch upper caste children.'