Child Rights Advocacy Foundation came into existence after a state level seminar on ‘Child Rights’ that was organised in Vijayawada in the year 1997 at the initiative of Fr. Thomas Koshy. In the 90’s runaway children from across the states of India and the districts of Andhra Pradesh were flocking to Vijayawada in large numbers. As the numbers of these children were increasing, apart from rescuing them from streets, meeting their basic needs and taking up various steps for rehabilitating them, there was the need to prevent children from running away from their families. The analysis of the data on ‘reasons for running away’ showed that violence in the families and poor facilities for education were the primary causes. This as well as the lack of awareness on the rights of children across the state was the reason for organising the seminar on child rights and Child Rights Advocacy Foundation – CRAF, which emerged as a result of this seminar was to continue the disseminating the learnings from the above seminar and stand as a body that will advocate for the rights of children across the state of Andhra Pradesh and in India. Since its inception, CRAF played vital role in imparting information on child rights, laws related to children and international and national standards.
CRAF has regularly organized programs to empower the children, parents and those in authority so that they in turn become agents that promote child rights, using child related laws as advocacy tool. Forum for Child Rights have been promoted in all the districts of Andhra Pradesh for convergence of child rights activists, NGO’s and stake holders. Child Rights Monitoring Cells were set up and trained on child rights, laws related to children and provided psycho social and when necessary legal follow for children. District Resource Teams were formed, which provided information and knowledge on children rights and related issues to the key stake holders in the districts.
CRAF designed and promoted child rights campaigns which were timely and needing urgent attention. The continuous campaigns at local level are organised by the Child Rights Campaigners, who are volunteers (CRCs), located in 50 Revenue Divisions of Andhra Pradesh.
Steps to build Model Child Friendly Villages and Urban Wards have been initiated in Guntur, Krishna and West Godavari Districts. The primary objective of this initiative is to protect the rights of every child in the village so that ‘no child is left behind’. Andhra Pradesh State Women Development and Child Welfare Department needs to be appreciated for promoting 7000 above Child Protection Committees in all districts through District Child Protection Units. A high light of the activities in these villages is promotion of the child’s right to participation through “Bala Panchayats”, which are child groups which articulate their rights.