246 million children work worldwide, half of which live and work in Asia and the Pacific. Poor children are the victims of what their parents might consider to be fate. Ending child labour not only means education for the children, but also for the parents. ILO televison reports from the slums of Delhi.
These girls, dancing for their mothers and classmates used to spend their days working. Now they go to school. Like other similar projects across India, The Naya Prayas provides non formal education and vocational training to former child labourers.
Kamlesh, former child worker
I used to be a rag picker then I met a lady from (Naya Prayas) who said you should not do that job. She came home and spoke to my parents. Then I stopped working and began to study.
India has one of the highest rates of child labour in the world. And though the numbers of this invisible group are hard to pin down, the lowest recorded number of working children in India stands at more than 10 million.
Families like Tarun’s cannot survive without the children’s labour, but they are learning to compromise. The free meals and clothing provided by programmes such as the Naya Prayas is making it possible for children to study and help their families part-time after school.
R.K. Khurana, Programme Officer, ILO
In India, education by itself does not help complete elimination of child labour. Many of the parents feel it is good to give some training to the children.
Change is slow however, because most pupils are born to parents who were once child labourers themselves. Parent-teacher meetings are organized once a month to encourage parents to keep their children in the programme and out of the cycle of poverty.
Her father doesn’t want her to study but I do. His thinking is that we do not have the means to educate them. I feel that children should get at least some education.
Children are not the only ones who have to be taught, parents are learning to stand up for their children’s right to education.
The Indian government along with the ILO have launched a public awareness campaign that emphasises education as a way to a decent job.
Parents are starting to realize that with the opportunities these programmes provide they have the power to help ensure their children's future is a future without child labour.