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If Made The PM Of India, Would You Also Do What These 9 young People Would To End Child Labour

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By Anwesha Dhar: 

open your eyesWe, as human beings, hold a lot of opinions. Whenever we observe a larger socio-economic-political problem, we often put ourselves in it and assert that if we were richer, prettier or more powerful; we’d be able to tackle it better. But often, these opinions go unexpressed because of the lack of a platform or because of the inaction of our system. This time, CRY-Child Rights and You, an Indian NGO that believes in every child’s rights to a childhood, decided to provide both of these with its new campaign, “Open Your Eyes”. As part of its annual photo-journalism campaign, Click Rights, which focuses on the issue of child labour this year, CRY is running a hotline for the public, along with partner Gram Vaani, where you can call and talk about the measures you would have taken to eliminate child labour had you been the Prime Minister of India. The number is 011- 66032837, and registered opinions are to be shared with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Pledge your support to stop child labour here.

Amol says that he would have implemented stricter laws and if these laws are already in place, he would work on implementing new ones like compulsory education up to 16 years of age; even 18 if possible. He would also have opened a child helpline and enforced a stronger connect between the centre and the state.

Manisha Gopal says that she would have traced the very cause of child labour. The problem, she feels, is the lack of implementation of the various solutions and government programs.

For Mihitha Sharma, increment in budget allotted for child welfare, and setting up a commission with 6 effective departments to fight child labour, are highly crucial requirements.

Sunidhi Awasthi says that if she were the PM of India, she would trace the causes. Many parents, she says, treat children as a source of extra family income. As the PM, she would have talked to primary school teachers who could in turn counsel the parents, and would also open new avenues of income for these children in the form of monetary rewards for regular attendance.

For Anita, strict laws and rules assume topmost priority.

Gomal Kapoor says that education and implementation of strict law can help us effectively nip child labour from its bud.

Criticising the present Right to Education act, Akshay strongly asserts that if he were the PM, he would have raised the age from 14 to 21 years, as he believes that it has an effect on employability.

Amrita Chatterjee believes that the way child labour should be dealt with is by creating a toll free number where people would call anonymously, reporting about any incidence of child labour they come across. Their address and name would be withheld and the person guilty would be punished depending on the severity of the crime.

Yash Babbal says that if she were the Prime Minister the first thing she would do is teach parents and impose a fine in case they don’t send kids to school. Recounting her own experience, she says that she has come across many children whose parents do not send them to school, even though it is free of cost, and thus, indirectly or directly encourage them to indulge in child labour.

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  1. Harsh D Dolis

    Strict labour laws prevails today also, but are they implemented? I don’t think so, because during committee meeting there are only discussions and not actions, but revolutions need action not diacussion.
    I would have implemented a group to see that labour laws are implemented and where child themselves go for labour on there own, listen their problems and help accordingly.
    Also I would have made the penalty for child labour “Non – bailable”.

  2. BHAVYA

    No ‘ACT’ but ‘ACTion’ required

  3. Naman

    Very few replies here have understood the real issue at hand, it is not abduction of kids, it is not lack of laws or implementation or lack of schools or opportunities of free education, the issue is prioritization of education in early life for the benefit of an individual and society as a whole.

    No child would want to work when he can go to a school where he gets to interact and play with his friends, educated and taught about new things and taught new ideas about old things etc. Schools are fun, except during examinations, and India has a load of them somewhere about 1 Lakh (i believe this should be a ball park figure). The issue is to get children in them, not dragging them into these rooms where boring teachers sit and weave sweaters.

    There are many children who have been given up by their parents and have to survive on day to day basis by begging, borrowing or stealing.
    Then there are many who belong to very poor families and are forced to do something to fill their stomachs on day to day basis, frankly even i could not study if i was feeling hungry.
    Then there are parents who believe that education is not for girls
    Then there are parents who believe that their children are better off without education and working in fae onlmily fields.
    etc
    etc
    .
    .
    .
    Multitude of problems, isn’t it? Then how come there be one solution?
    There should be an umbrella of solutions, under which various agencies come together to create a plan to deal with this problem.

    Infrastructure ministry must create good schools, road connectivity
    IT must implement solutions which can track attendance of students and teachers effectively, link the socialist schemes’ benefits with their attendance, reward healthy competetion, reward toppers with suitable lifetime job security in Public sector.
    Ministry of industry must encourage the businesses to adopt children and mould them as per future requirements
    Above all the HRD must make education relevant to the current times, vocational training must be given a preference over maximizing share of exam takers clearing a board exam.

    There is a lot to be done but if I were PM of this country I would create this framework to bring children out of poverty and hence out of labour.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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