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Before celebrating children's day let's take a pledge to support them

India celebrates Children’s day every year on 14th November in the memory of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India. 14th November is the birth anniversary of Pandit Nehru also known as Chahcha Nehru who is believed to have unconditional love towards children. This day is celebrated across India to increase awareness of the rights, concern and education of children.

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But since years nothing much has changed. Every year we do celebrate children’s day in schools and institutions but the unprivileged and the poor children continue their fate of working as child labors neglecting their right to education. The children suffer under the plague of multiple violations of children’s rights as highlighted by the print and electronic media. Every day that you cross a street or eat at a restaurant there are many ‘chotu’ that you come across but you choose to stay silent and smile at their fate. Maybe if you have a kind heart, you offer an extra penny or two but that doesn’t add up to anything. They are neglected and shall remain to have the same fate as long as we silently allow children to toil in hard situations far away from their family. Or allow them to get married early when idyllically, they must be in school. All the efforts by government have gone ineffectual to improve the status of the children in the society.

Even today our children are unsafe and abused. Celebrating children’s day for namesake is of no use until we work to ensure that our children live in a happy and safe environment.

So besides what the government does, on this children’s day let’s take a pledge to support the children. To not refrain from talking and convincing the employers of the underaged children to provide them their right to education and to do everything in our capacity to restore the children’s rights to these underprivileged.

India is sadly the home to the largest number of child laborers in the world. The poor living conditions and lack of social security are the major reasons for this ever continuing problem of child labor. The increasing gap between the rich and the poor, increase in privatization of goods and services and the liberal economic policies are the major cause of unemployment that affect the children in the longer run and they are forced to work for a living. Also the faulty mechanism in the functioning of various Multi-National Corporations allows them to use child labor. Lack of quality universal education is another reason why children drop out from school and join the labor force.

The worst case scenario is that the number of child labors goes undetected. Indian laws that are meant to protect child laborers are ineffective and neither are implemented correctly.

The urban households use child labors as help, since they are cheap and easy to handle. Their working conditions are completely unregulated. The scenario may be cruel, the children are often made to work in poor conditions, without food and very low salaries. The conditions may go worse according to several media reports where child laborers have been both physically and sexually abused by their employers. Although there has been a notification by the Ministry of Labor that said that making children work in households or employment of children in tea stalls or roadside, urban restaurants is a “hazardous” occupation.

As per a report by HAQ: Centre for child rights, the highest cases of child labor are reported amongst the communities like the schedule tribes, Muslims, schedule castes and OBC. The reason for increase in child labor is the inefficient law, administration and loop holes in the system that benefit the employers and provide them the leverage to reduce general wages and treat the children so badly.

There are numerous reasons why children are pushed out of school and forced to work like farmer’s suicide, loss of parent’s job, armed conflict and even high cost of health care. Girl child are often use as domestic help by her own family instead of sending her to school. We may also say that it is the total lack of political will that has led to such adverse situation.

Bonded child labor is the most brutal side of the picture. Bonded labor implies to the employment of a person against a loan or debt. This has its roots from the zamindari system that has been prevalent over years in the country. It is a form of slavery. Such children are often found in agricultural sector or are found supporting their family in brick kilns. Bonded laborers in the country are mostly migrant workers and are most vulnerable to exploitation. They have been several cases of brutality towards these children that lead to the loss of their lives. Bonded child labors are at a very high risk of physical as well as sexual abuse. There future lies in darkness unless we come forward for their help.

So this children’s day let’s pledge to not shut our eyes towards the malpractices by the society against these child laborers and strive to provide them their right to a clean, growing and healthy life. Join NGO’s that work in the direction. If you own a domestic help in the form of child labor do not refrain him from his right to education and a brighter future.

  • Educate the people and these children about their rights and our duties as the responsible citizens of the country.
  • Donate clothes, books, money to help these millions of children to come up at the surface as educated and responsible citizens.
  • Report any form of child abuse (physical. Mental or sexual) in the police. Also ensure you follow up on the situation. It may take some of your time but would save a life from being completely destroyed.
  • This children’s day do not just celebrate it by distributing sweets and gifts to children, rather educate the upcoming generation about the amends that are required to be made.

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