CRY – Child Rights and You is an
Indian NGO that believes in every child’s right to a childhood – to live,
learn, grow and play. For over 4 decades, CRY and its 850 initiatives have
worked with parents and communities to ensure Lasting Change in the lives of
more than 3,000,000 underprivileged children, across 19 states in India
Could you tell us the primary motto of your NGO?
CRY’s purpose is to ensure happy and healthy childhoods for
underprivileged Indian children. To ensure their rights are protected and
honoured in a society that is built on respect for dignity, justice, and equity
Our mission is to enable people to take responsibility for the
situation of the deprived Indian child and motivate them to seek resolution
through individual and collective action, thereby enabling children to realise
their full potential. And people to discover their potential for action and
What are the programs you undertake to ensure child rights and
In terms of our work, we are proud of our unwavering focus on
reaching “the last child” –i.e. the most marginalised children. We work with
children in remote, rural areas, children in conflict zones and urban slums or
backward communities. It is our experience that in situations of extreme
deprivation and struggle for the entire community, it is always children who
are the most vulnerable and neglected. Hence, our interventions address the
root causes of inequity and deficits to ensure that children have a healthy
life, a chance at a proper education, a space to be heard and a safe and secure
environment to grow up in.
What is the most common issue adversely impacting kids across the
country today? How does your organization aspire to tackle the same?
Access to basic education for many children across the country
continues to be a challenge even today. Even though the number of enrolments in
schools have increased, a section of both boys and girls, especially those between
the ages of 14 to 18 years are compelled to drop-out of schools only to end up
working as child labour across various industries including that of agriculture
or to get married.
There are also multiple challenges in terms of addressing issues
of malnutrition. To address the multiple issues that confront children today,
CRY’s interventions focus on the following:
- Building an agency for children
- Provision of interim services to meet the immediate and critical needs of children e.g. providing non-formal education or support classes to school drop-outs
- Influencing knowledge, attitudes, and practices of parents that impinge on children’s rights e.g. superstitions detrimental to breastfeeding practices or attitudes that keep girls out of school
- Mobilisation and empowerment of underprivileged communities to increase engagement on children’s issues
- Capacity building of service providers, e.g. teachers, to ensure delivery of quality services
- Creation or participation in networks and alliances to enable child-friendly policies
Furthermore, our broad-based experience on the ground along with
our efforts in the policy and research arena has given us a unique perspective
on both the micro and macro-level influences on children’s issues. This has
enabled us to create sustainable and replicable models of intervention.
Do you receive CSR funds? What forms are the primary source of
monetary assistance for your organisation?
Our primary source of funds is individual donations.
However, we do receive CSR funds, and some of our corporate funders have
included large MNCs like P&G and Oracle, as well as prominent Indian
companies like Hero, Bajaj, and Marico.
Do you think CSR implementation has been smooth in the country
till now? How could it be enhanced?
India has a unique corporate social responsibility (CSR) provision
under the Indian Companies Act 2013, which mandates CSR for any company meeting
certain profit, turnover or net-worth criteria.
While the CSR clause is a breakthrough initiative in the CSR arena,
there are some limitations to the clause which need to be debated and
A mandatory CSR spend can result in an increase in the focus on
quantifying CSR vs. a qualitative assessment of what makes strategic sense for
the company. It also runs the risk of diluting the attention on how companies
make their profit rather than focusing on how they spend their profit. CSR has
to be strategic and linked to the business.
The Act recommends that the company shall give preference to the
local areas around where it operates. This may result in skewed resource
allocation as most business houses and manufacturing facilities are located in
developed states while the resource requirement is more in the under-developed
states where industrial presence is limited.
The Act also encourages companies to implement their CSR
activities by establishing their own trusts/societies. However, social and
development issues are often complex and local civil society organisations are
likely to be better equipped to understand these unique issues and offer
solutions for the same. In addition, many of these civil society organisations
operate from the larger framework of social justice and not just on a project
or activity basis. Therefore, partnering with such organisations will
enable bringing in the aspect of social sustainability into the CSR
The clause does not address core business impacts as set out by
the guidelines developed by the Government itself and the state’s duties in
line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights which India
endorsed in 2011.
In addition to some of the limitations in the law itself, there is
a lack of a unified view on CSR, which includes lack of clarity on the
definition of CSR, its agenda, actions, and reporting. The question for
corporations and CSR practitioners is how to craft CSR strategies that reflect
a company’s business values while addressing social, humanitarian and
A few key elements to be considered are given below:
- Integration of
responsibility within the long term objectives of the organization. It’s
aligned with the vision and mission of the organization.
- Structure and
role definition: Who within the company is responsible for crafting and
driving CSR strategy and implementation?
Which different stakeholders will the CSR strategy involve, influence and
objectives and programme design
– internal and external for synergy, adoption, and extension of agenda
mechanism – a measurement of impact and reporting
About Kreeanne Rabadi:
A post-graduate diploma holder in Early Childhood Care &
Education (ECCE) from Sophia College Polytechnic, Kreeanne Rabadi began her
career at ORG-MARG designing market research projects for children. She was
with the company for six years, conducting qualitative and quantitative
research for a diverse set of clients – MTV, Colgate Palmolive, Godrej Foods,
She joined CRY-Child Rights and You in 2000 to
lead the Resource Generation team in the Western region. Kreeanne spent five
years with CRY in India, enabling her team to consistently exceed its revenue
targets. In 2005, she was assigned the challenge of setting up the marketing
function for CRY America, for which she moved to the US.