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Tools made by children, but at what cost?

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Time for introspection: Articles used and made by child labour on display at an exhibition in Chennai on Thursday.
Time for introspection: Articles used and made by child labour on display at an exhibition in Chennai on Thursday.

Staff Reporter

Exhibition showcasing tools of child labour inaugurated

CHENNAI: A brownish dhoti belonging to Kumaresan, a 14-year-old child labourer, still carries traces of his sweat. He was working as a farm hand in Erode district when he was rescued by a non-governmental organisation.

Objects of ‘oppression’ such as farm implements, iron boxes, spanners, crackers, kuthuvilaku, match boxes made or used by children to work at an age when they had to play and study, are on display at an exhibition that got under way at Anokhi on Chamiers Road here on Thursday.

The four-day exhibition, put together by World Vision India (WVI) and NalandaWay, was inaugurated by Inspector General of Police Prateep V. Philip, who lit a lamp polished by a child worker of Kumbakonam. The ‘At the cost of childhood’ exhibition on the tools of child labour is being organised as part of World Day against Child Labour.

On display were figures in jute representing children put to work as domestic help, rag pickers, shoe shiners and those working in units that produces matches and crackers and tea stalls. They were made by students of Government School of Arts and Crafts in association with NalandaWay.

The figures ‘mock society and the consumers’ responsible for the situation of the children.

Reality check

“When we collected the clothes from different NGOs, some of them even had blood stains. We want to shake up the visitors with the exhibits,” said Sriram V. Ayer, founder of NalandaWay Foundation.

WVI national director Jayakumar Christian said child labour marred the identity of children. A report on a recent social audit conducted by WVI on the implementation of the ban on child labour in domestic and hospitality sectors was released on the occasion. The report found that a lack of access to education was one of the main reasons children are forced into child labour.

The exhibition will be open for viewing from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. till June 15.

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