Convergence of Perspectives of Privileged & Unprivileged citizens on Child Labor, Education and Child Rights
• The interaction with underprivileged citizens has provided ideas on many workable interventions, which the community of changemakers would like to consider. Following are my research findings-
1. There were/are barriers to education that include but not limited to – unavailability of school in the vicinity, lack of peer and family support for early childhood education, and most importantly unawareness regarding the importance of Education.
2. The need and urgency of working at an early age to be a contributing member of the family have negatively affected childhood education. The general common age at which children start working is around 10-12 years.
3. One interesting point to highlight here is that all of the uneducated working-class citizens do agree on a common point that the right education could have supported them and their situation could have been better. Taking learning from their own experiences it is inspiring to see that all of them send their children to schools and aspire that their children would pursue quality education and will uplift them as well as society.
4. Because of the rise in awareness about government schemes through gram Panchayat and with the active help of few educated members in every family, most of the unprivileged citizens were able to utilize some of the other Govt schemes from time to time that include “Jan Dhan account, Kisan subsidy amount and free ration, etc.
5. If we become successful in making education more attractive, then we can certainly attract all those children who were so far had chosen to work as the only option for life and livelihood. Also, if school education includes skill development, it has the potential to drastically reduce child labor.
6. One critical point to mention here is that Child labor is not considered as a bane or an unhealthy practice in rural India, rather it is considered as an opportunity for young children to support their family from a younger age, hence to break this stereotype we need to disseminate the law & regulation aspects of child labor as well as it must be supported by quality education as need of the hour.
• The common understanding which came out from the discussion with privileged citizens is that the lack of support system, parental care, or single-parent family, all of these factors cumulatively greatly contributed to child labor in our society.
• This is encouraging to witness that an educated youth of India do understand the intricacies of child labor and summarily rejects this practice as the informed consent of a democratic citizen.
• Every Indian Youth has faced child labor in his/her community, so the awareness at the social level is already present, we just need constructive interventions and concrete actionable work plans to end child labor and trafficking from our society and make this world a better place.
• We are moving in the direction of building a support system and a culture which affirms and upholds the dignity of every human person. The culture celebrates human life and aimed at nurturing the creativity of every child thereby paving the way towards a progressive and prosperous society. I being a child rights activist and human rights advocate call on every global citizen in solidarity to let us join hands in building a society that is based on the structures of education, freedom, and equity. With strong determination and commitment, we can surely achieve our mission to “end child labor and trafficking by 2025”.