Education empowers us to understand and do things that are necessary in order to properly adapt to the fast-changing world. It is also something that makes an individual much more confident about themselves around people from diverse backgrounds and in private as well. However, there are a few people who, unfortunately, are stripped-off of their right to education and end up working from a very young age. Thanks to the opportunity I had because of the KSCF Virtual Volunteer Programme, I interacted with a few people in my area and tried to understand their perspective on the matter.
While talking to Mr. Prem (he’s the one who keeps our streets clean), I realized that at times there’s not much choice left other than to start working at an early age. He told me that he went out to work with his elder sister when he was around 10yrs of age. His elder sister was also just 16 at that time. Their father had a serious drinking problem and their mother was unable to support a family of 6 on her own. He used to do odd jobs like washing cars in the morning or watering plants for or bringing items from the local Kirana store for anyone who asked for his help. In return, sometimes he used to get a certain amount or at times was given something to eat. Gradually he found a job at the Municipal Corporation of Delhi as a cleaner. He now has a contractual job with a steady income to support his family. But he still wishes to have a proper education. He believes that if he is able to complete his schooling, he might be able to get a much better job.
To the contrary, while having a discussion with one of my neighbors, I realized that despite all the awareness programs and campaigns, there are a number of people who still are unaware of the fact that their house-helper has been crushing their dreams just to be able to have a meal for their family. My neighbor was also unaware of any major child labor laws apart from “Haan bacho se kaam karwana to illegal hai naa!”. He was also unable to list industries that are highly dependent on the workforce based on child labor. I tried to share what I knew about the topic but he seemed a little reserved to talk about it as if it were a taboo to talk about. Personally, I think that some more intense awareness programs should be brought to the public eye using all kinds of social media. The more we’ll talk about it, the more effective it’ll be in eradicating the problem from its core.