By Siddhi Jain
New Delhi: Saleha Khan, a resident of Mumbais Govandi suburb, was only a prepubescent when she started undertaking menstrual hygiene and sanitation awareness sessions in a place where “humans coexist with flies, filth and faeces”, reveals ‘We Are The Champions, a compilation of resilient tales that charts the change-making journeys of 15 underprivileged children.
Co-authored by best selling writer Rashmi Bansal, and Devendra Tak from NGO Save The Children, the book features 15 children from underprivileged backgrounds who are fighting against all odds and injustice, to bring extraordinary change in the communities they belong to.
A perfect inspirational read for children and adults alike during Lockdown 2.0, ‘We Are The Champions’ goes on to tell the story of Saleha, who completely transformed hygiene practices in her neighbourhood. She was eventually chosen as a Girl Champion from India, to speak at the United Nations General Assembly session.
The book, which is among the top 100 bestselling ebooks on Amazon Kindle, is an ode to children who were brave enough to question age-old practices such as child marriage, child labour, dowry, trafficking and inequality of gender.
“It takes a child to raise a village. I discovered this truth when I met with several inspiring children from across India who have helped to improve the lives of other children and brought positive change to the communities and nation,” said ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’ author Rashmi Bansal.
Devendra Tak, who works with Save the Children, has met amazing people during his career while he was on assignments in India and abroad. “COVID-19 has bought tough times on everyone. Children are the hardest hit as they find it difficult to comprehend why there is lockdown and why they cannot go anywhere. This book is bringing stories which will inspire and help the children to cope with the stress of lockdown and tell tales of underprivileged children who are fighting against all odds to change society,” he states.
The book’s stories are divided into three sections: ‘Ladenge’ (meaning ‘we will fight’), ‘Padhenge’ (meaning ‘we will study’) and ‘Badhenge’ (meaning we will grow and move ahead).
The book also features child changemakers like Anoyara Khatun who is one of India’s most prominent children’s voices, and has represented India in two United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York along with being a recipient of the President’s Nari Shakti award. She continues to inspire many children in West Bengal and beyond.
The book aims to highlight the sheer grit of these child champions and supports their will to change their current circumstances, so that they can have a better tomorrow. Free access to the complete book is available on Kindle Premium.
(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at [email protected])