Any form of work that disturbs the childhood of any child is generally what we call Child Labour. This includes any interference with a child’s mindset to attend schools or any other mental, physical, social or moral exploitation which is legally prohibited by legislation worldwide.
This usually occurs due to poverty mainly in industries like agriculture, factories, mining, and other operations. In India, it has decreased over the years after a rise in income and availability of schools and also with the help of Child Labour Laws.
UNICEF India showed a census of 10.2 million working children between the age group of 5-14 years. There are some major international laws to deal with child labour like the UN Convention on the rights of the child 1989, the International Labour Organization conventions on the minimum age for admission to employment 1973 and the Worst Forms of child labour 1999. India has its own legislation that supports the protection of child labour and brought forward Child Labour Act 1986 (Prohibition and Regulation), National Policy on Child Labour 1987, Juvenile Justice Act 2000 (Care and Protection of Children), the Right to Education Act 2009, etc…
Here are some people and their organizations that stand against child labour:
- Geeta Dharmarajan– She is the founder of Katha (located in Delhi) which is a non-profit organization focusing on educating children from poor backgrounds. They specialize in teacher training and children’s literature. They started with 5 children and now have centers for various slums benefiting more than 90 lakh children in over thousands of slums.
- Shaheen Mistri– She founded Akansha Foundation in 1991(a non-profit organization) which helps children from lower income group communities to educate and attain skills needed for a successful life. They now have 21 schools across Mumbai and Pune. Shaheen also founded TFI- Teach (a non-profit organization) for India which focuses on building a network for children with low-income groups.
- Shweta Chari– She founded the Toybank in 2004 which had the initiative to promote the right to play for children. They started with providing toys to children and gradually started organizing toy collection drives in various schools, corporations in Delhi, Pune and Bangaluru.
- Farida Lambay-She was a social activist when she co-founded Pratham (a non-profit organization) which aimed at innovative learning by improving education quality. Starting from Mumbai, the organization now works with the Government as well. They also run a second chance program for girls who have dropped out of school and want to restart their education. It works in 23 states now and has educated more than 80 lakh children.
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- Jeroo Billimoria– She established the Childline India as an experimental project in 1996 while working as a professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. This organization protection of children below 18 years of age and also operate a 24X7 helpline for children who may fall in any trouble like any kind of abuse (physical, sexual and emotional). It was established officially by the Government of India in 1998-99. There are various call centers for the childline with trained teams who receive calls 24X7. They have also undergone several rescue operations for children suffering from sexual abuse and trafficking.