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Posts Tagged ‘Child Labor’

India Must Ban Child Labor

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 22, 2012

By Gordon Brown,

Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; UN Special Envoy for Global Education

Gordon_Brown_officialPressure is mounting on the Indian Parliament to end child labour after 150,000 Indians signed an abolition petition demanding an immediate change in the child labour laws.

The petition follows the recent revelation of slave labour conditions under which young children of eight and nine were making Christmas decorations. Currently dangerous work is outlawed in India — but there is no blanket ban yet on child labour under the age of fourteen. As a result India accounts for some of the worst excesses in global child labour; overall fifteen million children worldwide work full time when they should be at school.

This week the children who escaped slave conditions have spoken of their fate and about their ambitions for the future. During their horrific ordeal they were trafficked, exploited, imprisoned and denied food and their stories underline the urgent action needed to end child labour. They would still be making tree decorations and other trinkets but for the courageous rescue carried out by Kailash Satyarthi and his co-leaders of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) and Global March Against Child Labour (GMACL).

Their captors were slave masters who had them trafficked from Indian provinces. Often their parents were tricked into believing they were leaving to be given free education.

Their stories, recounted in a new film published on our website EducationEnvoy.org, reveal a pattern of child abuse. The first child featured on the film is eleven year old Rahim from Malman Nagariain. From the moment he boarded a train to India’s capital he became a prisoner and was eventually confined to a dark and dingy sweatshop in LNJP colony. He was forced to work 18 hours a day with only two recesses of ten minutes each for eating. He was never allowed to leave the premises and had to cook food for himself and his employer inside the sweatshop. He was often scolded and hit for being slow at work. His employer did not pay him a single rupee for his work despite being promised INR1500 per month. Now free he wants to study hard and become a soldier. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Delhi 14

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 6, 2012

By Gordon Brown, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; UN Special Envoy for Global Education

gordon-brown-1bMalala YousafzaiJust 72 hours ago in the Indian capital of Delhi 14 children were freed from slave labour. They were being held in dark, insanitary conditions and forced to work for up to 15 hours a day making Christmas decorations. Two were just eight years old.

The suffering of these young children, cruelly trafficked into slave labour, is the real Christmas story of 2012. Their plight must become a wake-up call for all concerned about the treatment of vulnerable children around the world. It demands we move immediately to ban all child labor.

The children rescued in Delhi had been beaten and intimidated. Imprisoned in dingy, locked rooms where they were forced to make Christmas goods with no access to light or fresh air. Malnourished and underfed, many had injuries as a result of using glass to make trinkets and because of violent assaults by their gangmasters. All had been sold into slavery and trafficked by middlemen.

The Christmas decorations and seasonal gifts they were making were for export from India to the West. There are near identical items on sale in shops in America and Europe right now.

The courageous morning break-in that freed the children from this slave labor was organized and carried out by Kailash Satyarthi and his co-leaders of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) and Global March Against Child Labour (GMACL). They faced violent resistance by the gangmasters and thugs.

Because the gangmasters had received a tip off that a raid would take place, most of the children had been whisked away from the workshop and 12 were incarcerated in a pitch-black cell no bigger than 6ft by 6ft Read the rest of this entry »

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Educating the World – No More Excuses

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 29, 2012

By Gordon Brown, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; UN Special Envoy for Global Education

This September, five and six year olds in the western world have enjoyed their first day at school. In the developing world, however, a total of 61 million school-age girls and boys around the world will not go to primary school at all.

While if you visited the classrooms of New York, London or Paris you would find happy young children beginning their educational journey, if you visit the mining regions of Mali, West Africa, you’ll find children as young as 10 working in tunnels 30 meters underground. Visit the cocoa growing areas of neighboring Côte d’Ivoire and you’ll see young boys of primary school age working with machetes.

This tragic picture of child labor repeats itself across the developing world: new figures show that 91 million girls and boys are currently engaged in child labor. On current trends, there will be as many as 170 million child laborers in 2020, who, instead of acquiring the basic literacy and numeracy skills that we in the western world often take for granted, are engaged in grueling and often dangerous work.

In Africa alone, the number of children aged between five and 14 involved in child labor is projected to increase by some 19 million. Growing numbers of children forced into the workplace, and so denied the opportunity to prosper in the classroom. This endless cycle of poverty begetting poverty through lack of opportunity is ready to repeat itself if nothing is done.

Contrast this with the western world, where education has taken its rightful place amongst the priorities of government, with centuries of investment in teaching and infrastructure. In ten years’ time, 800 million of the world’s citizens, primarily in wealthy countries, are set to have university degrees. Read the rest of this entry »

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