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It's a boy! The importance of birth certificates

Renee Schreurs

A few weeks ago we all welcomed a new born baby into our community. His name is Madhavan.

The baby was born to the 17-year old  sister of Satish Kumar. She and her husband delivered their first child together on 30th December 2015, in the aftermath of the November flooding.

We have been there to congratulate her and help her in her first few weeks of motherhood. We taught her how to feed and wash the baby, but also how important it was for the baby to be officially registered and receive his birth certificate.

80% of the Londor community are without birth certificates.

This means it’s  impossible for them to find legal employment or an education, at school or college level. To the Indian government, without these documents they don’t exist.

We made it our goal a while okay to get birth certificates for all the children at MNIK, and we promised to do this for all children born into the community too. This process can be a long and stressful one – sometimes, it involves hard work to be assured of the correct parentage and the year of birth, let alone the month or day.

But, when we get these documents it makes life so much easier for the recipient. With a birth certificate, legally working and studying is no problem and future opportunities open up. (We also make sure that these documents are kept in a safe place!)

So, Madhavan received his official birth certificate. This is now tucked away somewhere safe for when he needs it to start his first day at school. He can celebrate his birthday on 30th December each year and going to university won’t be a problem for him. But for now he’s still a very cute little boy who has just shown us his first smile. He doesn’t have to worry about any of this stuff, we’ll do all that for him instead.