Don’t Employ Them;
Sensitization Campaign against Child Labour
from Smile Foundation organised an awareness campaign in
Mumbai on the eve of International Labour Day.
The objective was to sensitize privileged
citizens to prevent the practice of children labour and
instead empower them with the power of education.
Event: An outdoor Awareness and Sensitization
campaign Against Children working as Labour
Objective: Sensitizing privileged people
and sending an appeal to empower underprivileged children
Date: April 30, 2008; Wednesday [On the
eve of International Labour Day]
Location: Churchgate, Mumbai [towards Fort]
Time: 11 AM to 1 PM
Chotu, Bahadur, Munna – If any Indian
is asked, what do these names remind him of; the answer
in majority of cases would be – A Servant. Do we ever
realise that the possessors of these titles are also humans
many of them children who are not there to just serve us
like robots? If we try to answer this one honestly then
probably the answer could range from a big and straight
‘NO’ to ‘Never’ really bothered
to think about it’.
Statistics reveal that India has 17 million
child labourers, the highest in the world. Over half of
the working children (54%) are in agriculture, and most
others are employed either in construction (15.5%) or in
household work (18%). About 5% are in manufacturing jobs,
and the remainder (about 8%) are scattered across other
forms of employment. Lack of awareness about the basic rights
of a child has lead to easy violation of laws meant to protect
and empower children.
Mumbai alone has an estimated 60,000 children
between 5 - 14 years in domestic work and 80,000 between
14 - 18 years according to the National Sample Survey.
Domestic workers, especially children,
are paid well below minimum wage for unskilled and semi-skilled
workers and they are discriminated against. Labour laws
do not cover domestic workers and children in domestic work.
Because of this, employers can hire, fire, and mistreat
domestic workers at their will. The attitude many people
seem to have is that we are giving these kids shelter and
livelihood, and doing them a favour.
Children become more vulnerable and helpless
in front of such people, especially so if they are employed
with such households. Majority of children in the country
haven't been given any sex education. Hence if abused, they
don't realize and understand what is being done to them,
and where to go, who to speak with, it usually ends up keeping
quiet. It is in such situations that these children are
most vulnerable and becomes victims repeatedly. For real
change to occur the root causes of child labour have to
be addressed like the lack of a coherent education policy,
poverty, marginalization, migration etc - situations that
force children into work.
Smile Foundation is a national development
organisation empowering underprivileged children and youth
through various education and healthcare initiatives across
21 states of India.
Smile Foundation believes that education
is both the means as well as the end to a better life: means,
because it empowers an individual to earn his / her livelihood
and the end because it increases one's awareness on a range
of issues – from healthcare to appropriate social
behaviour to understanding one's rights - and in the process
evolve as a better citizen.
Besides children from Smile Foundation
projects in Mumbai, many celebrities and actors, including
Divyanka Tripathi, Little Champs singers, Anchor Mauli as
well as more than 200 citizens participated in campaign.
Smile Foundation, through this sensitization
effort wants to create awareness on the vulnerability of
underprivileged children in our society. Smile Foundation
would like to appeal to the privileged individuals - ‘Don’t
employ children; help empower them through education.’
Smile Foundation appreciates members of
the media for their proactive role in passing on the information
to a large audience and sensitizing them to make our society
a better place. A few of the media groups which participated
in the initiative proactively include ZEE News and ZEE Group,
Star News, Aaj Tak, India TV, Star Majha, News 24, Hindustan
Times, Indian Express, DNA, Lokmat, Navkaal, Apla Varthahar,
among the prominent ones.
Kindly click here to know more about Child Rights