Mumbai Smiles, in the year 2016 expanded its horizons where it began working in the area of Advocacy as its new vertical. And under Advocacy, JUMP2justice (J2J) is a project for the advocacy of Human Rights, which aims to, within the purview of the Indian Law & Order, work in an integrated manner with the existing projects of Mumbai Smiles for victims of various social issues and injustice in any form under the horizons of Health, Education, Livelihood and Housing. This project is working to ensure that the beneficiaries are well aware of the process to stand up for themselves in any adverse situation and are empowered to approach the correct concerned authorities for their grievances to fight for their Human Rights.
It is important to note here that J2J is not a stand-alone project, but one that is working in tandem with all our other projects – Preschool Education, Life Skills Empowerment, Maternal and Child Health etc. And the project has already begun working its way to create and ensure public awareness about Human Rights and Fundamental Rights available for all the citizens of India by the United Nations and the Constitution of India respectively, in the underprivileged sections of the society, particularly the project areas of Mumbai Smiles. So far, 19 awareness sessions have been held for the beneficiaries of the Preschool Education project, including the 50 Teachers & Assistant Teachers as well as 339 parents of the tiny children of the 30 Preschool Education Centres.
Each of the session began with a quick introduction to all the projects of Mumbai Smiles, followed by information on the Human Rights and Fundamental Rights that each of us are entitled to by virtue of being human and a citizen of India (respectively). Unfortunately, most of the beneficiaries were unaware of the concept of these rights and hence this proved to be an extremely crucial part of the sessions. To understand these Rights better, discussions ensued about the issues in the slum areas, how to tackle them by approaching the correct authorities, the link between the social issues and the human rights and personal examples were shared to grasp the concept of Human Rights better.
The response to these sessions was more intense than anticipated. While many didn’t know the concept of Human Rights at all, there were a few who didn’t know the difference between the Fundamental Rights and the Human Rights and also a few who knew about only a few of the Rights available to us.
With many more sessions to follow, we hope to reach out to as many people as possible through this new project in the slum areas of Mumbai to ensure that justice is provided to all those who need it. But before that, the first step is to create awareness so that soon, our intervention is not required at all in these areas and so they become self-sufficient in all aspects.