Mumbai, 11 June 2009: On 12th June 2009 – World Anti Child Labour Day, CRY is launching a year-long campaign to ‘Send children to school, not work’. CRY will send out a placard “Children should go to school, not work” to supporters on online portals. The invite is to get as many people as possible to pose with the placard in as creative a manner as possible and get a photograph taken and send these photos to CRY.
“Through a series of such campaigns and on-ground activities the volunteers are looking to make citizens aware of the many schemes available to children and their families that help enroll children in school. CRY volunteers have involved about 3000 people in Mumbai in the past year in the campaign”, said Puja Marwaha, Director-West, CRY.
“Not a single rehabilitation policy comprehensively addresses all aspects that push children in to labour. It is our duty as citizens to use our voices and our learning to stand up for the rights of children who are forced to work and whose childhoods are lost on construction sites, in looking after siblings, in illegal factory settings and in hotels and restaurants,” said CRY Volunteer Krishna Singh, and independent professional who has been a CRY volunteer for the past year in campaigning against child labour.
Through the year the citizens of Maharashtra will use various events to build a voice for Child Rights, one event at a time, one person at a time. “This campaign will not stop till children are assured of their right to a present AND a future”, avows Havovi Wadia, Manager, Child Rights and You.
CRY volunteers will go to bookshops, colleges, schools, communities, through the months of June and July to encourage people to actively support the right of all children to go to school, not work
All the photo signatures will be part of a short film to be uploaded on the Internet on August 15th. Copies of the photo signatures and the film will be sent to the Labour Commissioner, the Department of Women and Child Department, MPs and MLAs in Mumbai.
Note to the Editor:
CRY – Child Rights and You earlier known as Child Relief and You – is India’s leading advocate for child rights. Over 30 years CRY has partnered with NGOs, communities, government, the media and is dedicated to mobilising all sections of society to eliminate the root causes of deprivation, exclusion, exploitation and abuse. For more information please visit us at www.cry.org
For Further information, please contact:
Child Rights and You ( CRY ) email@example.com (022) – 23010445
Genesis Burson-Marsteller Nikita Crasta/Anandhi Vishwanathan Tel: 91-22-2491 1783 / 9820072973
CRY has learnt that children continue to be exploited and abused because the State and people are not addressing the problems of children comprehensively and effectively. The standard response to child labourers in Mumbai, for instance, is one of ‘rescue’ rather than looking at the poverty that sent children to labour in the first place. Only ‘rescuing’ children, often will not help. What is needed is proper rehabilitation, including bridge courses for children to make up in years of lost schooling, ensuring good quality free government schools, good backup in health services and adequate employment and housing for the adults.
Children are naturally linked to their families. Thus children’s rights are intrinsically linked with the realisation of human rights in general.
The supply chain of cheap child labour can only be eradicated if its root causes are also addressed – causes like social and economic marginalisation, poverty, displacement, migration, lack of a coherent policy towards quality education for all etc. situations that force children into work. Piecemeal efforts will not do.
Children work mainly to help their families because the adults do not have appropriate employment and adequate income. Children also work because there is a demand for cheap labor in the market. Poor and bonded families, succumbing to the demand, often “sell” their children to contractors who promise lucrative jobs in the cities and the children end up being exploited. Many run away and find a life on the streets.
The distinction between hazardous and non-hazardous work in relation to children is spurious because children work out of compulsion – of poverty and adult unemployment. This is why CRY believes that for children, all forms of labour are hazardous.
CRY Impact figures – 2008-2009
• 761, 167 children were impacted through CRY programmes in 18 states
• 1376 government primary schools were revived and retained (where previously revived)
• 558 government primary schools maintained 100% retention of students
• 380 Panchayats had active Village Education Committees
• 38169 children were mainstreamed into government primary schools
• 762 Panchayats with active Village Health Committees
• 481 villages were made 100% free from child labour
• 1641 children’s groups were formed and strengthened
Facts & Figures
1 There are 17 million child labourers in India – the highest number in the world.
2 19% of children employed work as domestic help
3 90% working children are in rural India
4 85% of working children are in the unorganized sectors
5 About 80% of child labour is engaged in agricultural work.
6 25% of the victims of commercial sexual exploitation in India are below 18 years of age.
7 Millions of children work to help their families because the adults do not have appropriate employment and income thus forfeiting schooling and opportunities to play and rest.
8 Children also work because there is demand for cheap labour. High incidence of child labour is a result of high incidence of adult unemployment.
9 Large numbers of children work simply because there is no alternative – since they do not have access to good quality schools.
10 Poor and bonded families often ‘sell’ their children to contractors who promise lucrative jobs in the cities and the children end up being employed in brothels, hotels and domestic work. Many run away and find a life on the streets.
11 The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986, together with all other legislation made to address the issue of child labour, cover only 15% of the total child labour population in the country.