When asked about how does it feel to study, Kavya, who was rescued by officials from her employers said: “I am happy to be studying. That's all. There is no problem.”
Kavya and Bhavani, both students of class 10, were asked to speak during a programme organised by the District Legal Services Authority, the district administration, and the District Child Labour Project Society to mark World Anti-Child Labour Day here on Sunday. The two girls were rescued by officials and rehabilitated. Kavya said she had been working in a hotel at Attavar when she was rescued.
Bhavani said she had been working in a Muslim family and had to run away. The police then produced her before the Child Welfare Committee, and then she was sent to Prajna Counselling Centre, an institution to look after children. She now studies in Cascia High School in Jeppu.
The day-long programme included a workshop on legal awareness where the resource persons were a member of the Child Welfare Committee Lavanya Shetty and Assistant Labour Commissioner Venkatesh A. Shindihatti.
Commissioner of Police Seemant Kumar Singh inaugurated the programme. Mr. Singh said the existence of child labour was contradictory to the right to education. Therefore, there was a need to identify children who should be in school but were working. Arrangements for short-term and long-term rehabilitation should be made.
The Commissioner and several other speakers emphasised on the importance of identifying the causes that pushed children to work at a young age.
Mr. Singh said the problem could not be solved by raids. It needed to be ascertained whether a particular child had been a victim of trafficking or whether it was financial constraints in the house that had forced the child to work, he said. He said “inter-ministry and inter-agency” approach should be made use of to combat child labour. Deputy Director of the Department of Women and Child Development Shakuntala A. urged people to take steps to prevent child marriage. She said the protection committees had been formed to check trafficking of women and children.
Principal District and Sessions Judge H.R. Deshpande said it was not always right to blame parents for sending children to work; the whole society must be held responsible, he said.