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Programme held at Ahmedpur

 

CAMPAIGN AGAINST CHILD LABOUR

Our Efforts and Experiences Part - I

"In all the civilized societies all over the world system of child labour is condemned as a social evil but the fact is the system is prevelent on a large scale in a country like India. It is noticed that, in recent times our society is showing some signs of awareness about this social evil. This is the first part of the article giving details about the efforts undertaken in and around Ahmedpur for eradication of this system.

Since past 12 years I am working on various issues related to rural areas through Peoples Institute of Rural Development and Rachanatmac Sangharsha Samiti (Maharashtra). To generate employment for farm labour through "employment guarantee scheme"is our sustained and major activity. While working with farm labour during 1988-90 I was exposed to the issue of Child Labour. When I saw the children working as child or boned Labour in agriculture, I could realise the intensity of this issue.

Agriculture is a main source of employment for labour in rural areas. Child Labour working in farms, or as a bonded labour or as a herdsman has an adverse impact on the employment of adult people. When dialogue was initialed with farm labour on this issue. They narrated that when child works as a Child Labour he/she actually supports the family. They feel that child provides something to eat to a family. This is a general feeling among the rural masses about Child Labour. The common understanding among this labour class is more working hands means more income for a family. But this calls still could not decide, whose hands these should be? They are not understanding that small hands are depriving of big hands from employment.

The difficult life they are living and ignorance of these farm labour is responsible for such type of their attitude towards their own children. It made us realised that there is a need of structural changes in the society and we resolved to work for structural changes. In the society and we resolved to work for structural changes. In the initial period neither we had any plan nor a concrete stralgy to deal with the situation. We decide to have a dialogue with farm labour on this issue. Already we were discussing with them about employment minimum wages, equal wages for equal work, laws for the profection of a farm labour etc. while discussing these issue we always had positive attitude and approach. We used to tell them sending children to work means depriving of them the apportunity to go to school. If a child will not to go to school, he/she will grow as illiterate person. Valnerable for all sorts of exploitation please send them to school. It will be better if they remain unemployed after getting e ducation. We were always insisting that they should send their children to school. Our perception was if children will go to school then automatically no. of child labour will be reduced which will result in generating some employment for Addults.

After sometime, we realised that, what ever efforts we may do, it will never be possible to aduilt all the children from this class to school. This realisation directed us to conceive a programme called "Education programme for child Labour" Immediately its implementation was started. In the process of implementation of this nonformal education programme for child Labour, in depth thinking was going on, on this issue. At this juncture, TDH and YUVA took the initiative and started "Campaign against Child Labour" on 14th Nov. 1992. Since the first meeting we are associated with this campaign and working for it.

Though we have an ambition to work for eradication of a system of Child Labour we are aware of the scope and magnitude of the problem and our own limitations. Therefore; based on our own assessment of our capacities we have decided to implement following programmes;

 

  1. Education programme for child Labour.
  2. Creche Programme for children of farm Labour; and
  3. Campaign against Child Labour.

1) Edcuation Programme for child Labour :

This programme is initialed with an objective to provide opportunity to those Children of below 14 age to get education, who could not go to school or who are school dropouts. And due this reason they work as Child Labour. This programme will enable them to learn 3 Rs. And may be make them capable to appear for Std II or Std VII examinations. They may be become a part of main streme education.

In a period of three years 20 education centres were of ended in 20 villages. Around 600 to 800 children were enrolled in these centres. Selected children were prepared for Std IV examination. They were motivated and supported in this venture. In the period 1992-93 --- 1994-95 183 children appeared for Std IV examination. Out of which 122 passed the same and from those who passed 68% were girls. Along with those who appeared for examination, 139 other children joined the main streme of education this is our achievement. It could be possible due to purposeful effort.

 

 

  1. Village level programme:

A:1 100% enrollment in schools.

In all the 20 villages a list of children in the age group 5 to 7 is prepared every year. The purpose is, they should be enrolled in schools. Non-formal education centre co-ordinator and village education committee fully participate in this endearour.

A:2 Controlling dropout rate from primary schools.

Due to various reasons children enrolled in primary school leave the school. These school dropouts work as Child Labour. To stop this process, school drop outs are surveyed, their list is prepared and efforts are made to send them school. But we could not succeed in our efforts.

A:3 Child education committee.

Child education committees are constituted at village level. The committee is comprised of Co-ordinator non-formal education centre. Headmaster/Teacher from a school. Some youth and some prominent individuals from a village. This committee is responsible for 100% enrollment of children in schools, controlling the rate of school drop outs, sending Child Labour to non-formal education centre and implementation of campaign against Child Labour at village level. It is revealed that 60 to 70 % of the committees are not functioning effectively.

A:4 Village level campaign against child Labour :

Under this programme, village level meetings are organised to generate awareness on the issue of child Labour. In the meeting the issue is discussed and remedies are suggested for removal of this system. And people are requested to join the compaign. This programme has generated some awareness in village. People have started discussion on this issue. Wall writings are also done, so that people should read the slogaus and should think about it.

  1. Creche Programme for children of farm labour :
  2. Initially to take care of children of working women, creches were opened in four villages. With a support from social welfare Department. This creche programme helped in improving attendance of children in schools. This result made us realised that this programme. Can become a important to for controlling incidence of Child Labour.

    Since 1987-88 organisation is running creches in Wanjarwada and Malegaon villages of Ahmedpur tahsil. It followed by opening two more units in Thodga and Gagdal villages. A survey revealed that precentage of school going children is more in these villages as compare to other villages where there are no creches. Also it is revealed that percentage of child Labour is comparatively less in there village. As it is proved that this programme is a supportive one in controlling a system of child labour. In the last year 10 units of creches are opened in Chakur Tahsil. Two child development workers are appointed in each unit and the timing of creches is same the timing of a school. Around 20-25 children are enrolled in each unit. Total 240 children are admitted in 10 units. It is a general practice that, elder child takes care of his/her siblings in the family. Therefore; these elder children cannot attend schools. These children after some days work as child labour. The objective of this programme is freeing the child from taking care of siblings from their family and they should get an opportunity to go to school. At present this programme is implemented on experimental level.

  3. Campaign Against system of child labour :

Right from the beginning we are actively involved in this campaign from village to state to national level.

Under this campaign on village level 14th nov. is celebrated as Childrens Day (Balak Din) and 30th April Day against system of child labour. On these occasion, rallies, cycle rallies, seminars, camps and conference are organised. In these events along with child Labour adult male and female farm labours also participate. Tours, picnics, sports meats and awareness programmes are organised for child Labours as a part of the celebration.

Child labour from our region had participated in state and national level events and expressed their feelings and concerus. In Jan 1996 Peoples Institute of Rural Development was assigned to organise Marathwada level campaign against system of child Labour. We could organise the same successfully. Through this campaign we could reach to 21 Tahsils of 7 districts. We endeavored to educate thousands of people about the problem of child labour. One can ask a question of what is the achievement of this campaign? We tried to educate those who donot recognise this as a burning issue. It is true that it will take some time to make these people aware of this issue. But due to this campaign, people have at least started thinking of this issue. And we can say that, when people start thinking about any issue, it becomes a first step for organising peoples movement on that issue.

Whatever programmes we have implement for eradication of system of child labour, they were of preventive nature. While implementing these proframme we encounter the problems like; non-avilability of capable and active co-ordinator/child development workers, non-cooperation of people, lack of follow up strategy, indifference of government officials and their unsympathetic attitude and lack of training on various levels etc. But our plus point is, our sustained efforts and public contact definitely remulted in mobilising co-operation not only from voluntary organisation but from pleple from different strata of society also.

OurE fforts andExperiences Part- II

"In the previous issue, information was given about study of system of child labour in amedpur area and remedies for the eradication of the system, in the first part of the article. In this second part, of the Article our direct experiences and difficulties encountered by us are highlighted."

To develop proper understanding of the system of child labour of our region a survey of 15 villages from ahmedpur tahsil was conducted in oct. 1994. As per the asessment of P.H.C. the total population of the 15 villages was 19014. Survey revealed that there were 466 children who were working as child Labour, out of which 64 % were girl children. Though the survey provided information of various aspects of the system, here we would like to highlight the earnings of child labour and how their soci-educational backwardness is responsible for promotion and perpetuation of the system. Survey revealed that out 466, 252 children were working in the family occupation was child Labour, majority of the remaining child labour were daily wage earners, earning average Rs. 10/- as their daily wage. Employment was available for them for 6 to 8 month a year. It means their average annual income was rs. 1750/- only. Only 36 children were working on monthly basis, whose average annual income was around Rs. 2000/- only. Few of them were employed on yearly contract basis and their earnings were around Rs. 2000/- to Rs. 2500/- per year. It also revealed that, the contribution of a child Labour to family income was around 5 to 10% only. It means, whatever the child labour earned was quite issufficiant for meating his/her own basis needs. As per the price index of Aug. 1992, a person needed minimum Rs. 11.75 only per day for meating his/her basic needs. It means a person wanted Rs. 4288/- per annum for his/her survival.

It is a general fealing among the people that parents send their children to work to meet family needs. But in reality earnings of child labour employed in any occupation are not enought to support the family financially. But the child labour may supporting either the employer to earn more or the national economy to gain strength. The naked truth is in this unholy alliance of employer and parents child pays heavy price and loose his/her childhood.

Long back, we had submitted a proposal, under a scheme of ILO, to work for eradication of system of Child Labour. Corrospondance was going on for around two years with State and Central Governments about the proposal. In the mean time the scheme changed and we could not implement it.

It always happens like this, with the proposals submitted by voluntary organisations. But as per the policy of the Government, Labour Officer, Latur freed 20 Child Labours and put them with Savitribai Fuley Servicy Centre, Udgir, for their care and maintainance. The same Government officer repeatedly requested Government did not sanction any amount for it and the organisation is in difficulties now of how to take care of these children.

Our experience is, it is easy to get financial support form other funding agencies than Government for such programmes. We could implement some concrete programmes for child labour with a financial support from Tdh and Himos. It might be the experience of other organisations also. Again it is a common experience that, general public takes more interest in such programmes than Govt. officials.

For running 30 child Labour education centres and 10 creches in Chakur Tahsil, last year people contribute 17 to 18 thousands as their share. For donations 700 letters were sent to individual for their contribution for child labour education programme form Rs. 25 to Rs. 300/- were received from the individuals contacted.

While organising Marathwada level march against the system of child labour, any people contacted us and expressed their satisfaction about our efforts and also expressed their desire to participats actively in the campaign. After the march, still we receive letters from individuals and organisation. They want to participate in the campaign and expart our support and guidence in this matter. But we are aware of our own limitations. Even we could not do effective follow up of the programme.

Situation of child labour on National Level :

Our country has a vast population. Out of which around 110 million children work as Child Labour. They work is numerous occupations. Their employment in hazardous industries like carpet industry, match factories, mines cracker industries is much in news. But there many more industries and occupations in which child labour is employed and they are equally hazardous one. During the period of 100 years Government has enacted many laws about Child Labour. But there is not a single law which could stop the system of child labour totally. The most publicised Act on child labour is an Act of 1896. But this Act also could prohibit employment of child labour is selected hazardous industries. But the fact is, the industries which are listed in this Act also employ child Labour. Majority of the child labour is employed in unorganised sector. There is dire need of enactment preventing employment of child labour in this sector.

Second important point is, people dont feel that system of child labour is an important burning issue. Therefore, people are not deoply concerned about it, as they are concerned about other national issue. As people are not aware, it becomes extromely difficult to raise the voice against this system. It means, the first step is to generate awareness among the masses on this issue.

All the national and state level political parties are quite indifferent on this issue. Except one or two none is interested in this issue. Casually they express their opinious or shout some slogaus or make some demands on this issue. But it doesnot mean that they are really interested in solving this problem.

It may be interesting to know, why these political parties are indiferent about this issue. The reasons may be child labour are not the voters or vote banks for any political part, and as they are most unorganised, neither they are in a position to influence the voting pattern.

As some awareness about the issue is being generated on national level and people have started expressing their discontent and again international community is also discussing the issue, government is compelled to take some measures for improving the situation child labour. For this, Central labour ministry has formulated a scheme which will implemented in the current plan itself. Under this scheme 100 districts are identified and 2000 child labour from each district will be rehabilitated. (17 districts from Maharashtra are included in this scheme). With this speed, even 100 years will not be enough to rehabilitate the entire child labour of the country. Available information reveals that, state Government does not have nay programme for improving the situation of this lot. Previous Government had announced to add some more industries to the list of hazardous industries. This government says that they will pas a comprehensive legistation on this issue. In our country thousands of voluntary organisations are working in the field of education, social service, social welfare or social change, but only few of them are really involved in this campaign. It is difficult to say that whatever they are doing is important or not, but the basic objective of all the voluntary organisations is to build a happy and prosperous socity. But, if we want to have a happy and protection, employment generation, population control and eradication of system of child labour.

In this perspective, a question may be asked that, what exactly we should do for eradication of this system. But we should keep in mind that, there are no short cuts to solve this problem. Liberation of child labour and prevention of the system both carry equal importance. Measurs should be take to improvethe situation in both areas. There is a need to implement poverty alleviation programme. Perticularly guaranting employment to adults through out the year, assuring minimum wages for them. Facilition for rehabilitation and education of child labour should be provided.

We must keep in mind that, system of child labour is universally existing sytem. It is existing in developed countries like America and Russia as well as in developing countries like India and Pakistan. It shows that this system is exploitation than to poverty and unemployment. More work and less pay is only possible in a system of Child Labour only. Child Labour could easily be exploited. Exploiters know this reality therefore; they promote and protect the system. The point is whether we would offose this mentality of exploitation pf Child labour or not. It we donot all the system then all the remedias will prove to be useless and programme for improving the situation will continue for ever.

 

Machhindra Gojame

 

 

CAMPAIGN AGAINST CHILD LABOUR

Our Efforts and Experiences Part - II

"In the previous issue, information was given about study of system of child labour in amedpur area and remedies for the eradication of the system, in the first part of the article. In this second part, of the Article our direct experiences and difficulties encountered by us are highlighted."

To develop proper understanding of the system of child labour of our region a survey of 15 villages from ahmedpur tahsil was conducted in oct. 1994. As per the asessment of P.H.C. the total population of the 15 villages was 19014. Survey revealed that there were 466 children who were working as child Labour, out of which 64 % were girl children. Though the survey provided information of various aspects of the system, here we would like to highlight the earnings of child labour and how their soci-educational backwardness is responsible for promotion and perpetuation of the system. Survey revealed that out 466, 252 children were working in the family occupation was child Labour, majority of the remaining child labour were daily wage earners, earning average Rs. 10/- as their daily wage. Employment was available for them for 6 to 8 month a year. It means their average annual income was rs. 1750/- only. Only 36 children were working on monthly basis, whose average annual income was around Rs. 2000/- only. Few of them were employed on yearly contract basis and their earnings were around Rs. 2000/- to Rs. 2500/- per year. It also revealed that, the contribution of a child Labour to family income was around 5 to 10% only. It means, whatever the child labour earned was quite issufficiant for meating his/her own basis needs. As per the price index of Aug. 1992, a person needed minimum Rs. 11.75 only per day for meating his/her basic needs. It means a person wanted Rs. 4288/- per annum for his/her survival.

It is a general fealing among the people that parents send their children to work to meet family needs. But in reality earnings of child labour employed in any occupation are not enought to support the family financially. But the child labour may supporting either the employer to earn more or the national economy to gain strength. The naked truth is in this unholy alliance of employer and parents child pays heavy price and loose his/her childhood.

Long back, we had submitted a proposal, under a scheme of ILO, to work for eradication of system of Child Labour. Corrospondance was going on for around two years with State and Central Governments about the proposal. In the mean time the scheme changed and we could not implement it.

It always happens like this, with the proposals submitted by voluntary organisations. But as per the policy of the Government, Labour Officer, Latur freed 20 Child Labours and put them with Savitribai Fuley Servicy Centre, Udgir, for their care and maintainance. The same Government officer repeatedly requested Government did not sanction any amount for it and the organisation is in difficulties now of how to take care of these children.

Our experience is, it is easy to get financial support form other funding agencies than Government for such programmes. We could implement some concrete programmes for child labour with a financial support from Tdh and Himos. It might be the experience of other organisations also. Again it is a common experience that, general public takes more interest in such programmes than Govt. officials.

For running 30 child Labour education centres and 10 creches in Chakur Tahsil, last year people contribute 17 to 18 thousands as their share. For donations 700 letters were sent to individual for their contribution for child labour education programme form Rs. 25 to Rs. 300/- were received from the individuals contacted.

While organising Marathwada level march against the system of child labour, any people contacted us and expressed their satisfaction about our efforts and also expressed their desire to participats actively in the campaign. After the march, still we receive letters from individuals and organisation. They want to participate in the campaign and expart our support and guidence in this matter. But we are aware of our own limitations. Even we could not do effective follow up of the programme.

Situation of child labour on National Level :

Our country has a vast population. Out of which around 110 million children work as Child Labour. They work is numerous occupations. Their employment in hazardous industries like carpet industry, match factories, mines cracker industries is much in news. But there many more industries and occupations in which child labour is employed and they are equally hazardous one. During the period of 100 years Government has enacted many laws about Child Labour. But there is not a single law which could stop the system of child labour totally. The most publicised Act on child labour is an Act of 1896. But this Act also could prohibit employment of child labour is selected hazardous industries. But the fact is, the industries which are listed in this Act also employ child Labour. Majority of the child labour is employed in unorganised sector. There is dire need of enactment preventing employment of child labour in this sector.

Second important point is, people dont feel that system of child labour is an important burning issue. Therefore, people are not deoply concerned about it, as they are concerned about other national issue. As people are not aware, it becomes extromely difficult to raise the voice against this system. It means, the first step is to generate awareness among the masses on this issue.

All the national and state level political parties are quite indifferent on this issue. Except one or two none is interested in this issue. Casually they express their opinious or shout some slogaus or make some demands on this issue. But it doesnot mean that they are really interested in solving this problem.

It may be interesting to know, why these political parties are indiferent about this issue. The reasons may be child labour are not the voters or vote banks for any political part, and as they are most unorganised, neither they are in a position to influence the voting pattern.

As some awareness about the issue is being generated on national level and people have started expressing their discontent and again international community is also discussing the issue, government is compelled to take some measures for improving the situation child labour. For this, Central labour ministry has formulated a scheme which will implemented in the current plan itself. Under this scheme 100 districts are identified and 2000 child labour from each district will be rehabilitated. (17 districts from Maharashtra are included in this scheme). With this speed, even 100 years will not be enough to rehabilitate the entire child labour of the country. Available information reveals that, state Government does not have nay programme for improving the situation of this lot. Previous Government had announced to add some more industries to the list of hazardous industries. This government says that they will pas a comprehensive legistation on this issue. In our country thousands of voluntary organisations are working in the field of education, social service, social welfare or social change, but only few of them are really involved in this campaign. It is difficult to say that whatever they are doing is important or not, but the basic objective of all the voluntary organisations is to build a happy and prosperous socity. But, if we want to have a happy and protection, employment generation, population control and eradication of system of child labour.

In this perspective, a question may be asked that, what exactly we should do for eradication of this system. But we should keep in mind that, there are no short cuts to solve this problem. Liberation of child labour and prevention of the system both carry equal importance. Measurs should be take to improvethe situation in both areas. There is a need to implement poverty alleviation programme. Perticularly guaranting employment to adults through out the year, assuring minimum wages for them. Facilition for rehabilitation and education of child labour should be provided.

We must keep in mind that, system of child labour is universally existing sytem. It is existing in developed countries like America and Russia as well as in developing countries like India and Pakistan. It shows that this system is exploitation than to poverty and unemployment. More work and less pay is only possible in a system of Child Labour only. Child Labour could easily be exploited. Exploiters know this reality therefore; they promote and protect the system. The point is whether we would offose this mentality of exploitation pf Child labour or not. It we donot all the system then all the remedias will prove to be useless and programme for improving the situation will continue for ever.

 

Machhindra Gojame

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child labour Marathi matter

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