HYDERABAD: Friday, January 27, opened a new chapter in the lives of 40 liberated child labourers, including 25 girls from four villages in Mahabubnagar district, as they prepared for the seventh class and SSC examinations this year. Freed from bondage thanks to the city-based Arya Samaj for Bonded Labour-Child Labour Front, they are at a three-day educational camp here. They hail from Undyal, Amarchinta, Atmakur and Chinnachinta villages in Atmakur Assembly constituency
Ten teachers, some working in Government schools, are training participants in the camp. Several retired teachers are striving to boost their confidence and preparing them on how to accomplish the Herculian task of taking six question papers each in two public examinations. Manjula, an orphan liberated two years ago by the front that is part of the Andhra Pradesh Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, lit the traditional lamp to mark the inauguration. Keshav Rao Jadhav, civil rights activist, Nikhileshwar, poet, T.V. Narayana, sabha president and Vithal Rao Arya, front chairman, beamed, as the Undyal girl did the honours. Venkat Rao, president, Mahabubnagar district unit of the Arya Samaj, chaired.
Speakers called for efforts by the administration to simultaneously tackle poverty, illiteracy and child labour, as they were inter-related. They blamed Government's lack of political will to effectively liberate children from the drudgery of toiling for their livelihood. Along with child labour, dropout rate was increasing; yet officials were not willing to accept this reality.