I am quite sure that each one of us must have witnessed a child as a domestic help maybe in our own home or maybe at our relative’s place. The people who hire these kids are mostly educated and belong to a well to do family. These people when asked why they have hired these kids as their help responds that they are doing the benefit of the kid’s family as they are not able to meet the ends. So, once I was at someone’s place for a party,where the lady of the house had a girl child who was the domestic help. She was approximately 12 years old and the lady of the house was boosting how education plays an important role in moulding our society and why it should be given importance and on the other hand she was instructing her 12 year old domestic help to make sure that the tikkas were not overcooked. I was astonished and was just processing the hypocrisy of the women’s behaviour in my mind. Another lady asked the owner, how can such a small child manage to do all this ? To which the owner replied, “ Oh God! It’s not for free, you see. I do realise that she is merely a child ,So Ihave got her enrolled in a school and she studies and I have also assured her parents that I will get her married.” Now, these lady who should be behind the bars for the offence of the child labour. Suddenly she becomes some kind of Robin Hood.
The reasoning that by employing the children as the labourer or as a domestic help is a way to help the poor family is wrong. It is wrong because you might be helping that family financially but that child is deprived of his childhood, child rights and most importantly right to lead a life. Secondly, another trend which I have seen is that these people who hire girl children, always give the excuse that they are going to get the girls married and so they don’t have to worry. I don’t think that it would be wrong to say that hiring the girl child by giving this kind of assurance is something which promotes gender- inequality, patriarchy in the society and also doesn’t support the women’s right to education and their upliftment.
Here the problem lies in the family who are hiring these people. Some of the people may counter that in reality if these children won’t work then their parents will be overburdened to meet the ends. But I don’t think that ruining someone’s childhood or violating the child’s rights can be the solution either. We as a society have failed them, if we really want to help them then let’s not bargain their rights for our selfish comfort. Rather let’s take a step forward –
- If we really want to help these kids instead of hiring them, let’s sponsor their studies. Or lets them get enrolled in a NGO who works for them.
- If we witness any child labour,or any kind of child exploitation file a report against it.
- Let’s not take advantage of their poverty.
- Let’s all fight against child labour in our society.
- Let’s protect the future of our nation.