Kailash Satyarthi: The activist who made child rights fashionable

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:14 pm IST

Published - October 10, 2014 04:15 pm IST - New Delhi

Kailash Satyarthi, Founder Bachpan Bachao Andolan. File Photo: R. V. Moorthy

Kailash Satyarthi, Founder Bachpan Bachao Andolan. File Photo: R. V. Moorthy

Possibly India’s best known face against child labour, Kailash Satyarthi shares this year’s Nobel Peace Prize with Pakistani child rights activist Malala. He and his organisation, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) — the Save Childhood Movement, have single-handedly brought to centre-stage the debate on child rights in India.

Mr. Satyarthi and the BBA have so far freed 80,000 children from servitude, including bonded labourers, and helped in their successful re-integration, rehabilitation and education.

Officially there are only about five million child workers in India, but NGOs and others say the actual figure is ten times as much.

The Delhi-based Satyarthi (60) has been a persistent campaigner worldwide on social issues involving children.

Mr. Satyarthi gave up a promising career as an electrical engineer at the age of 26, has since highlighted child labour as a human rights issue as well as a welfare matter and charitable cause. He has argued that it perpetuates poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, population growth and other social problems.

Several prestigious awards have been conferred on him, including Defenders of Democracy Award (2009-US), Alfonso Comin International Award (2008-Spain), Medal of the Italian Senate (2007-Italy), and Robert F. Kennedy International Human Rights Award (US).

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