Child Rights and You, also known as CRY, an NGO that works for the underprivileged children and protection of child rights in India, organised a marathon-‘Run for Child Rights’, on 26 February 2016, at Delhi University North Campus to bring about an awareness about child labour in India. The marathon was organized by CRY’s Child Rights Leaders across 8 colleges in Delhi University.
With a turnout of about a 100 students, the marathon began from the Vishwavidyalaya metro station and covered most colleges in the campus including Miranda House, Ramjas, Hindu, St.Stephens, SRCC, Hansraj, Kirori Mal, SGTB Khalsa and Daulat Ram College.
With morning zest, student volunteers at the marathon raised slogans like- “Education is our birth right, child labour we must fight, Hamane aab hain ye thana, bal bazdoori ko jad se mitana, Abhi humey karni hai padhai, mat karvaao humse kamaai”.
The marathon was organized keeping in mind the rising number of Child Labourers in the campus and how we, as young adults, have got so immune to seeing these children engage in labour, that seldom do we stop and think twice about helping them get out of their situation.
While we sit in the comfort of our warm blankets and enjoy the luxuries of our life, the child labour statistics of the country are staggering. As per the National Census 2011, India has 10.1 million child labourers in the age group of 5 to 14. 168 million children are estimated to be engaged in Child Labour around the world (ILO, 2012) that means every 17th working child in the world is in India.
Child labour, somehow, has become a social norm that we accept and tolerate in our society. This exploitative and abusive practice will continue unless society adopts a zero tolerance attitude towards it. Children continue to be exploited and abused because the State and people do not address children’s issues comprehensively and effectively.
However, only ‘rescuing’ children, often will not help. What is required is addressing the reasons that force children to work. Children work mainly to help their families because the adults do not have appropriate employment and adequate income. Children also work because there is a demand for cheap labour in the market. When children are forced to work long hours their ability to get adequate nourishment and to attend school is limited, preventing them from gaining education. Therefore, the need of the hour is to rise and give voice to these children who slog the innocence of their childhood in labour and give them the bright future they rightfully deserve.
Image credits: CRY team