Action for the Right of Child (ARC) being a Executive Committee member of Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL) India and Co-Convenor for Maharashtra also participated in national event. The national event started by peach Torch by children. The flame stayed lighted during the three day event to symbolize removing darkness from the lives of children at work.
The working group which was constituted worked day and night to make the event a successful. All the committees which were formed gave their best during these three days event, which included the children’s process, adult process, public hearing Exhibition etc.
Objective of the event:
Ø To promote a national platform of Children Against Child Labour through informed and willing participation, where they can raise their voice against child labour and advocate for themselves.
Ø To draw public attention and pressurize the government to evolve and implement effective policies and programmes towards eradication of child labour.
Ø To create space for children where child labourers, children rescued from labour and school going children come together, interface and interact among themselves on various issues relating to child rights, child labour, their rehabilitation etc. and build alliance between children in school and children out of mainstream schools.
Ø To bring clarity and strengthen the concept of children as protagonist against child labour.
Ø To facilitate the children to plan their own age for eradication of child labour.
Composition of Participation
The number of participants at national event was around 1000 children and 300 adults from 16 states of India. The children were nominated through state process.
1000 child labourers and former child labourers from 16 states.
300 school going children
Child labourers from different sectors.
Girl child labourers rescued and rehabilitated during the free girl child labour campaign.
Children rescued from labour force and in motivation centre, child labour project schools, bridge schools, etc.
School going children from mainstream schools.
Escorts/accompanist – 150 nos.
Facilitator- 65 nos. (app. 1 for 20 children)
Volunteers – 100 nos.
Child Rights Activists/CACL/State conveners/Executive committee members – 30 nos.
Guests & observers from Govt. and non govt. agencies, social movements, mass organizations etc. 45 nos.
Media representatives – 50 nos.
The event was inaugurated by the Governor of Orissa, accompanied by Labour minister, labour commissioner and other various bureaucrats of Orissa. Enlightening and encouraging speeches were made by these people.
The Children process Operated along the theme: PARTICIPATION AND EMPOWERMENT of children with the purpose of pushing them into an invincible role of protagonists of their own rights. The information exercises on issues relating to child labour liberate the children from the confines and cultivate a spirit among them to seek alternatives. Finally armed and energized with power of information they were inclined to overcome the present sorry state of affairs. They developed a clear perspective of their own regarding their demands from the stake holders. The stake holders shall be govt. Ngos, parents, employers etc. This was made possible through group discussions, exhibitions, information materials relating to child rights, available legal remedies, audio-visual presentation, puppet shows, film shows etc.
The children were divided into 40 groups with a mixture of at least one child from each state. They were then made to sit in their tents according to their group numbers accompanied by adult volunteers and saathis. Various process were then conducted for the children which included their rights, laws related to them, stake holders, forms of government bodies etc. The children also had to discuss their demands that they want from the government, people, Ngos and themselves. One child from each state was selected for the valedictory. One of the major aim of the process was also to make the children Agents of their own Change, hence the election process was followed to select two children from each state for the National Coordination committee (NCC). These committee will discuss the problems and other measures to be taken to eradicate child labour. The same as we are doing now, but from now on along with children. The process went as per its theme ‘We children together Against Child Labour’
The adult process revolved around working on three thematic perspectives which was the following: New trends and approaches to Child labour, Child Participation and good practice. Finally there was an adult declaration, a kind of pledge by the adult themselves to do their practice part in ensuring a child labour free society. The adults also worked in groups to write and present the good practices which have been or is being followed in their respective state for eradication of child labour. Heavy discussion by various known organizations and people were conducted which turned out be very useful by all. Activists, lawyers, Ngo heads all of them shared various kinds of good practices and answered questions asked by the adults. Finally at the end of the process the adults also came out with their declaration which will be proposed to the government the world Just and Joyful for all the children.
The public hearing process had some children rescued from labour telling their tales of sorrow and how they are doing now. Children from various states were selected to speak in front of the jury members. The most interesting fact was that the Jury members were not only adults but also children. Some children who were never a child labour were selected from various states to be a member of the jury. After listening to the tales of various child labourers the jury members noted down points to be added in the children’s demands and asked for stricter norms for employers who traffic children for cheap labour.
Exhibition on different forms of child labours were on display by all the states. Apart from this the children also got to see things made in different parts of India, which they had never seen and also got to eat different types food.
Evenings were entertainment time for children, various cultural events were organized. Classical dances, magic show, mimicry and jokes. The children who participated also presented dances and songs in their regional languages and dances of their states. Finally on the last day a DJ nite was organized where the children, adults and all others grooved to bollywood music.
Finally the children went back equipped with knowledge of their rights and laws and are now ready to combat child labour themselves at various stages.