Child labourer-turned-activist urges global leaders to invest in education, end exploitation

NewsDrum Desk
02 Oct 2022
Child labourer-turned-activist urges global leaders to invest in education, end exploitation

Ranchi: Her journey from being a child labourer at a mica mine in Jharkhand to delivering a lecture on a global platform before UN leaders was not an easy one, but there is no stopping Kajal, who has resolved to make all efforts to end the menace.

The 20-year-old woman's determination and steadfastness is now taking her to the state's remotest corners to generate awareness on the social evil and rescue children who are made to work in shops and factories, sometimes under hazardous conditions.

The former mine worker told PTI that she seeks to reach out to top world leaders and urge them to invest in education and pitch for stricter laws to stop companies and businesses from hiring underage children.

"I learnt that children are forced to work in factories in other countries, too... It is my appeal to global leaders to come forward and invest in education, which will help end the menace and create talented individuals who can earn a living when they reach a certain age," she said.

Necessary measures should be taken to "stop companies from employing children as labourers", Kajal, who was rescued some six years ago from Domchanch in Koderma by Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s Bachpan Bachao Andolan, emphasised.

Currently, a student of geography at a Domchanch college, she aspires to become a police officer some day and crack whip on child-trafficking rackets.

Speaking about her experiences, first as a labourer and then as a young leader of Bal Mitra Gram (BMG), a model conceived by Satyarthi to prevent child exploitation, Kajal also said that she found out that many girls, like her, were forced to endure "unfavourable circumstances", either due to financial constraints or conservative mindsets.

The 20-year-old, now president of children's council (Bal Panchayat) at BMG, said she has stopped at least three child marriages in her village in the recent past and rescued 35 boys and girls from the clutches of mine owners.

She has also enrolled some of them in local schools.

"Education is the key to growth, as it allows people to break the shackles of illiteracy and poverty in a society that presently forces children to work as labourers or push them into early marriages," Kajal maintained.

Talking about the UN programme, Kajal said that she had highlighted the social and health implications of child labour at the summit.

"During my maiden visit to the US, I learnt a lot about issues affecting children the world over... I met many international youth activists. I now have friends from Tanzania, Iran and other African countries," Kajal stated.

Satyarthi, when approached, said he is proud of Kajal and many others who have not let obstacles bog them down, and are fighting to liberate others from the cycle of slavery and trafficking.

"My heart swells with pride as I see Kajal and some others, who we rescued as child labourers, discussing ways to end the menace through education with youth activists and leaders from different parts of the world," he said.

Child labourers from across the world are demanding education, safety and freedom. If those in power do not listen to the appeal, they will be responsible for the plight of these children, he added.

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