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Little Pickpockets, May Their Tribe Increase
By Fr Pallithanam Thomas
Hyderabad, Jan. 29. The  Little Pickpockets, children from schools in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana where People's Action For Rural Awakening has set up human rights clubs reached out to the children affected by the unprecedented December Floods in Chennai. They  decided to pick pockets to make this possible. Only it was their own pockets that they picked to reach out to others and fill their own hearts  with the joy of giving. They put their pennies together and collected Rs 1,50,000 and sent their representatives to corporation schools in Chennai to tell that they love and care.
It was one of those regular meetings with students in Somidi Zilla Parishat School on the outskirts of Kazipet. Akansha, one of the students shared the story of how her classmate was not attending school for several days together. She said that she gathered some of her classmates and  visited the girl's family and found out the reason why the girl was being absent: her mother had taken ill and needed her support at home! Akansha and her classmates did not just give her advise as to how important it was to be regular to school etc, but put their pocket money together and with the support of their human rights club guide Mr Rajendar, who initially was skeptical about the human rights club initiative - and who like other teachers now voluntarily mentors the human rights club members - collected around Rs.2,500/- to for their class mates medication.

After narrating this story the plight of children in Chennai came up for discussion.  Immediately they came up with the suggestion of raising funds for them... but not from someone else outside the school. It was agreed that they would foot the bill - all of if from their own pocket money. The call was sent out to all the schools in the human rights schools network in the two states.

The Little pickpockets collected Rs 1,50,000 which prompted all the staff of PARA too to contribute 10% of their salaries to the children's fund and the amount came to Rs 1,75,000. Three representatives of children with three teachers went to Chennai and were able to provide school uniforms to all the children in Corporation Chennai Middle School on  Gujji street, books and study materials for students in Chennai Model School at Choolaimedu and International Agency for Prevention of AIDS in Chennai, three high end computers for Little Flower School for Hearing and Visually Impaired at Nungambakam. This event was facilitated by Mr H. Alphonse and Emmanuel Jayaraj, past pupils of Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur.

Members of the human rights club constantly try to rewrite the old adage "Today's Children are Tomorrow's Citizens``, "Celebrate Differences``, ``We are Today's Citizens and not Tomorrow's``. These and other many such gestures add content to their slogan.

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