Child labour robs millions of children of health, education and growth
This year, World Day Against Child Labour draws attention to the role of social protection in keeping children out of child labour. Social protection enables access to education, health care and nutrition and plays a critical role in the fight against child labour.
Globally 168 million children aged 5-14, or nearly 1 in 6 children in this age group, are involved in child labour. Child labour is the effect and the cause of poverty. Child labourers are drawn from the socio-economically most marginalised communities, such as those from minorities and the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).
Today as we celebrate the International Day against Child Labour, let us take a pledge to raise our voice against child labour!
Giving Children A New Start To Their Lives
In this quiet village of Bhuja in southern Rajasthan, 14 year old Payal and her younger brother managed to stay back in school despite several pressures to get engaged in child labour following their father’s untimely death. The children suddenly learnt they had to earn wages to manage their family.
Thanks to the social protection schemes such as palanhaar and efforts made by the NGO Mahan Seva Sansthan supported by UNICEF, that young ones are back in school.
Social protection schemes such as palanhaar help to link migrant labourers to government schemes and guarantees them income security. Payal along with five children from her village in Bhuja and approximately 1050 children in 254 villages have been identified or are receiving the benefits of the palanhaar schemes in Rajasthan. This has ensured that children receive education and do not have to sacrifice their childhood to feed their families.
Bringing Migrant Labourers Children Back to School
Nine-year-old, Sakshi Chauthmal from Jalna district in Maharashtra never got to attend school for the first five years of her life. Her parents used to migrate with the children to sugarcane farms near the Andhra Pradesh border in search of work.
Thanks to social protection schemes that links migrant labourers to government schemes and guarantee them income security, Sakshi along with 5,000 children has returned to school. The social protection schemes ensure that families settle down in one village and their children return to school for good.
UNICEF, through a network of local NGOs, helps vulnerable families gain vital information about relevant government schemes. It also trains gram sabhas (village assemblies) to help migrant labourers with the job card application process.
Thank Your Hero: Linking the Needy to a Better Life
Thanks to Arun’s guidance and assistance, Pochanna and 50 other families now receive monetary support from the government each month to make ends meet.
Arun has also helped 75 senior citizens who have no source of pension to gain cash benefits from Shrawanbal Sewa Yojana; linked two families of landless labourers who lost their sole breadwinners to the Aam Aadmi Bima Policy; and two other families that live below the poverty line, who lost their male breadwinners to another government insurance policy.
Thank your hero – a crusader in Rajasthan who freed her village from child labour
Had it not been for the efforts of this persevering aganwadi worker and teacher from the village of Bhuja, the state of Rajasthan would have topped India’s child labour index.
Meet forty-six-year old, Meera Devi of Bhuja in the Daiya Panchayat of Udaipur district located in the western state of Rajasthan. Her close ties with the village community has motivated her to work tirelessly to stop children from being exploited and taken to the neighbouring state of Gujarat for cotton-picking in the harsh summer months.