Do you know that it is against the law for children to work? Read on to know how you can help them.

Six-year-old Aarthi stays with her mother in Balamrai Kamaan. After her father’s demise, it became difficult to run the household.

She used to work as a rag picker. While going to the dump yard she would see children going to school and yearned to study, play and enjoy as other children of her age group did. Today she is enrolled in the Government High School, Balamrai.

Rescued!

Uday, aged 11, lost his parents at an early age. He was sent to live with his aunt and uncle. Uday was forced to work in a shop for several hours. He was rescued by the labour department during one of their raids and sent to a bridge school. “I want to be a doctor and treat people,” he says.

Thanks to the efforts being made by several organisations like CRY and M.V. Foundation, these kids now have access to education and a better life. These children are confident of fulfilling their dreams and goals.

Renuka, aged 13 who earlier worked as domestic help now aspires to be a teacher.

She says, “I lost both my parents. I used to live with my brother and work as a domestic help. The Labour Department rescued me and enrolled me in a bridge school. My favourite subject is Telugu. I want to be a teacher.”

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) defines child labour as “work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.”

On the list

India accounts for the second highest number of child labour in the world. Andhra Pradesh has the largest number after Uttar Pradesh according to the 2001 census. June 12 is observed as the “World Anti-Child Labour Day” to highlight the plight of these children.

Urging children to be watchdogs, Sahaya Teresa, communication manager at CRY says, “Children have a ‘Right to Protection’ and ‘Right to Development’. When they are employed they are exploited and abused. It not only affects their health but also violates their ‘Right to Development’ since they are deprived of education, care and recreation. It is necessary to ensure that all children go to school, not work.”

Mr. Rajendra Prasad, senior co-ordinator at M.V. Foundation says, “In areas like Kurnool and Mahabubnagar children are employed in cottonseed farms.

In Hyderabad children work as domestic help and rag pickers. Mobilising the community and creating a social norm against child labour is important.

e organise child right protection forums among the parents and society. We also conduct bridge courses for the kids who have been rescued and upon the completion of their bridge course we release them in the mainstream government schools.”

Reach out

Now here is a chance for you to help these children. If you can paint, stitch, or have any other skill and wish to share it with these children then you can volunteer to the M.V. Foundation.

Send a mail to MVF at mvfindia@gmail.com.

In your mail do mention about your skill and how much time you can volunteer.

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