Ending Child Labor in India
During the past 30 years, India has accelerated to
become one of the fastest growing economic powers in the world. Although this
shift has created new employment opportunities for millions of people, it has
also resulted in widespread economic disparity. For some Indian families,
choices are limited, which can lead to difficult decisions. Millions of children
in India are forced to work in underpaid and often dangerous jobs to help their
families survive, and despite a nationwide ban on the use of child laborers, the
practice is still widespread in some areas. ChildFund has worked in India
since 1951, and although great strides have been made to end exploitative
child labor, the road ahead is long.
Lives at Risk
Although many industries
in India make use of child workers, some are particularly hazardous. The
country's mining sector, for example, often employs children, as their small
size makes it easier for them to fit in tiny spaces underground. This leaves
them vulnerable to cave-ins and other health risks posed by extended contact
with mineral dust and other airborne irritants. Many children fear this type of
they often feel they have no other options to support their families.
"New kids are always
showing up here. And they lie about their age, telling you they are 20 years old
when you can see from their faces that they are much, much younger," Sanjay, a
13-year-old boy who works in a coal mine in one of India's remote northeastern
provinces, tells the Agence France-Presse. "It's terrifying to imagine the roof
falling on me when I am working. I need to save money so I can return to school.
I miss my friends and I still remember school. I still have my old dreams."
One of ChildFund's
primary goals in India is to expand educational opportunities for children and
ensure that they have the chance to attend school in a safe and welcoming
environment. Also, we are working to emphasize the importance of children's
rights and child protection in India.
In the northern region
of Uttar Pradesh, many children and youths have few options but to work in the
region's bangle-making industry. Many of these young people hope to emerge from
poverty and earn an education, such as Vipin, an 18-year-old with dreams of
becoming a doctor. However, his
work responsibilities often interfere with this goal, as he spends many
hours a day assembling bangles.
"I spend three hours in
the morning and three hours in the evenings," says Vipin. "Some days, I get my
fingers burned and blistered. But I have to work; otherwise, we will not
complete the day's quota and incur loss."
project that was highly successful was the Disha Children's Program. This
initiative aimed to improve nutrition and reduce chronic health problems among
children and youths like Vipin working in the glass and bangle manufacturing
industry of Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh. Through this program, we helped reduce
rates of malnutrition by 71 percent and halved the number of chronic health
conditions in this group of children.
Vipin later became part
of the ChildFund child sponsorship program and is now an active member of the
Youth Federation, an organization dedicated to ending child labor and promoting
educational opportunities for Indian youths.
To help us put an end to
child labor in India, please consider sponsoring
a child. Your support will mean the difference between a life of poverty and
the chance of a brighter future.