Let’s take a pause and introspect!
My conversation with three adults(2 male and 1 female) from an underprivileged background
reveals the following information:
1. Both the men started working between the age of 8-12 in their village farm. The woman(also from village) on the contrary did not work in the farms but used to help her mother in household chores.
2. The woman and her family moved to the city when she was 11. Her mother was working as a maid and sometimes used to assist her mother to work. Though she wasn’t expected to work still she used to help her mother. At the age of 16 she assumed the role of her mother and started working as a maid in different localities.
3. The first man(anonymous) left his home at the age of 15 to live at his uncle’s house in Patna. He used to work at his uncle’s retail shop till the age of 19 and then assumed the work of a driver. The other man(anonymous) continues to live at his village and work in the fields.
4. All three of the adults are uneducated but the silver lining is that all of their children are getting education in government schools.
5. Lack of resources was the common reason cited by all the three adults for not attending school.
6. None of them has a history of physical abuse. But they shared their pain of mental load due the amount of work.
7. The woman has applied for Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana for electricity connection in her native place( she is currently situated there because of COVID-19). The men weren’t aware of any schemes for poor people.
Note: The man who works in the village is my grandfather’s acquaintance. The other man is my uncle’s driver. The woman has been working at my place for 5 years.
My interaction with 5 members of my family reveals the following information:
1. They were not aware of the child helpline number nor they had any information regarding child protection laws or laws against childlabour. But none have them had ever employed a child at their place, they have strict opinion against child labour and do not support it in any form.
2. They have encountered several children working at weddings, shops, begging etc. Though they are against child labour but still did not raise their objection during those encounters.
3.They had no idea about the industry infamous for child labour but believed it was the firecrackers industry (they saw in news).
4. Two of them have seen children working as domestic help. They did not raise objections.
5. They were not aware of any product that they used that was made by a child. They were only aware that firecrackers were made by children but they don’t burn crackers.
6. None of them believed it’s okay for a child to work even if they live in abject property. All of them believed in the power of education.
Note: The five people included my Parents, Uncle, Aunt and Grandfather.
My personal deductions:
1. Even though people have strong reservations against childlabour, they still do not raise their voice against it when they happen to encounter it.
2. People with privileges hardly pay attention to laws safeguarding children against abuses. They believe their children will never encounter any such situation.
3. Underprivileged people with a rough history and working in a city are a bit aware about the future prospects of education and thus, encourage their children to attain education.
4. The normalization of child labour is adding to the woes of underprivileged children. There is an urgent need to de-normalise child labour.