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NATIONAL » NEW DELHI
JAIPUR, March 12, 2013
Rescued child labourers narrate their tales of woe
Exploited and marginalised children from three districts of Rajasthan narrated their tales of suffering and struggle and gave voice to their dreams at a workshop organised here on Monday to draw the policymakers’ attention to the prevalence of child labour in the desert State. The event also provided an opportunity to children to highlight their contribution to bring about positive changes.
International advocacy group “Save the Children” organised the workshop to provide an interface among children, community leaders, policymakers and journalists. The children were mostly rescued child labourers and those saved from exploitation in Alwar, Bharatpur and Chittorgarh districts.
Depicting their insight and maturity, young children touched the subjects of child marriages, child labour, gender-based discrimination, biases related to caste and religion, right to education, malnutrition and the Government schemes for children during their interaction with the participants.
They outlined a picture of positive change brought about with the establishment of “Baal Mandal” and “Baal Manch” in their villages, which they said had generated a new ray of hope for them.
Pushkar from Chittorgarh district recounted the story of his family’s poverty, his father’s addiction to liquor and his mother working as a labourer at agricultural farms. He spoke about his desire to study and narrated the experience of attending a global conference in New Delhi two years ago when he rubbed shoulders with VVIPs.
Satish from Bharatpur and Shaukat from Tijara in Alwar district described how they saved the children of their village from child labour and took them to schools. A young girl, Meera, stopped child marriages in her village, while Madhu succeeded in getting a new high school for her village through her efforts.
Udai Lal from Chittorgarh narrated his moving story of suffering from a rare heart ailment and his open heart surgery through the Chief Minister’s Life Saving Fund and said he wanted to study hard and earn distinction in his life.
Senior journalist Rajendra Bora said the society must appreciate delicate sentiments of children and be more sensitive to their issues. “It is the elders who inculcate prejudices among innocent children and prepare the ground for social exclusion,” he said.
Save the Children State coordinator Prabhat Kumar said a significant portion of Budget must be allocated for children’s welfare and institutional efforts made for their protection. State Commission for Protection of Child Rights member Noor Mohammed said children’s voices were being heard in the backward regions with increasing awareness.
Prayatna chief executive officer Malay Kumar, CUTS executive director Arun Talwar and Ashray Care Home coordinator Sushila Devi also addressed the workshop.