World Day against Child Labour 2019

It is said that today there are about 2018 million child labourers all over the world. They do not go to school or have the opportunity of enjoying their childhood. Out of this 2018 million throughout the world, more than half are engaged in vey hazardous forms of work. Guided by the principles enshrined in International Labour Organization's (ILO) Minimum Age Convention No. 138 and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention No. 182, the ILO Programme on Child Labour (IPEC) works to achieve the effective abolition of child labour. As part of this noble venture, different measures are taken to make the world aware and move towards the betterment of these affected little ones. One such step is the World Day against Child Labour launched by ILO I 2002. Every year on 12 th June, the World Day brings together governments, employers and workers’ organizations, civil society, as well as millions of people from around the world to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to help them.

Don Bosco Child Labour Mission, a forerunner in the field child rights and action against child labour in Karnataka, especially in Davagere, too makes every effort to organize World Day against Child Labour in the area of its operation, bringing together different departments of the government and the civil society, every year. True to this custom this year too DBCLM organized World Day against Child Labour at Bilichodu, in Jagaluru Taluk of Davangere district in Karnataka on June 24, 2019. It was coordinated by the CS project of DBCLM assisted by CREAM, ChildLine Collab, Open Shelter and the other project staff of DBCLM bringing together the department of education, local government bodies and the civil society under the patronage of BREADS, Bangalore, the chief partner of DBCLM.

The programme started with a procession by the students and people from different walks of life through the main streets of Bilichodu. It was inaugurated by N Manjula Shivanandappa, President of Jagaluru Taluk Panchayath, Narendra Kumar, Vice president, Jagaluru Taluk Panchayath, Prabhakar, Panchayth Development Officer, Bilichodu Grama Panchayth. The public program that followed the procession had a number of guests that included

Mr. Udaya Shankar, President, Grama Panchayath, Bilichodu
Mrs. Umavenkatesh, Member, Zilla Panchayath, Bilichodu constituency
Mrs. Manjula Shivanandappa, President, Taluk Panchayath, Jagaluru
Mr. Narendra Kumar, Vice President, Taluk Panchayath, Jagaluru
Mr. Prabhakar, Panchayath Development Officer, Grama Panchayath, Bilichodu
Mr. Y. Ramanaik, Chairperson, Child Welfare Committee, Davangere
Mr. K.N. Jayaswamy, Cluster Resource Person, Bilichodu
Mr. Shivakumar, Secretary, Nithyostava Convent School, Bilichodu
Mr. Basavarajappa, A.S.I. Bilichodu Police Station
Fr. Cyril Sagayaraj sdb, Director, Don Bosco Child Labour Mission, Davanage
Mr. P.S. Aravindan, Secretary, Ganana Tarangini Vidya Samasthe, Jagaluru
Mr. Rudresh, Assistant Teacher, Government High School, Bilichodu
Ms. Vaishnavi and Ms. Samskruthi, Representatives from Goverment Primary School, Bilichodu

All those who spoke after the inauguration of the public programme by watering a plant stressed on the need of protecting children and their rights. In the keynote address given by Mr. Harshad Ali, Team Member, Don Bosco ChildLine Collab, Davangere, he stressed on the importance of celebrating a day like this. He explained the theme of the day as ‘children should not work in fields but on dreams’. Poverty was identified as one of the major reasons of child labour. Poverty forces many children to leave their school and opt for minimal jobs to support their parents for earning the livelihood. There are also a few others who are forced into child labour by organized crime rackets like begging and illegal drug mafia. In Davanagere district alone DBCLM has identified and rescued about 1400 Child labourers from its inception with the support of various government departments like education department, women and child welfare department, police department, social welfare department and the civil society and other like-minded NGOs.

Mr. Y. Ramanaik explained in his speech different problems faced by children and how these can be addressed to bring those children back to school. He mentioned about Childline and various child protection acts.

Mr. P.S. Aravindan added a few other acts namely Child Protection Act 1993, amended in 1994, Child Protection Act 2015, Pocso Act 2012, Child Marriage Act 2006 – 2011- 2016 to what was said already by Mr. Ramanaik. He also talked about single parent family and about hundreds of children dropping out of the school to help their parents to earn a livelihood. He made use of the opportunity to brief on the free and compulsory education provided by the government and how children can be protected availing the service of Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and child-care institutions.

While addressing the gathering Mrs. Bagyalakshmi had a few words of appreciation and encouragement for DBCLM for its valuable role in helping the poor and vulnearable and thus helping in building the society. She talked about the children who are forced to child labour and why eradication of this social evil and alleviation of poverty should remain a top priority of the people concerned. She highlighted how child labour deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity and how it affects their physical and mental development. She also spoke of the lack of awareness on child labour among the parents.

Fr. Cyril Sagyaraj started his talk by asking what is child labour. He warned the gathering that all work cannot be considered child labour quoting ILO. Activities that contribute to the positive development of children like doing their share of household or any activities that may help in their physical and mental development is not to be targeted as child labour, if the labour affects their development in any field and affect their schooling it is targeted as a child labour. He reminded the society that child marriage, child abuse, Devadasi system (some of those social evils that keep children away from school) should be abolished from our society. Child labour has its roots deep in the cultural tradition of our country and therefore collective efforts are necessary to help out this poverty stricken families. An important step in this regard is raising awareness about this issue and striving to make India a better place where child labour is never tolerated even as a necessary evil.

There were also different cultural programmes performed by students from DBCLM and other schools. There was an oath taking ceremony lead by Mr Kotresh T.M., Coordinator, Don Bosco ChildLine Collab, Davangere, wherein both children and the adults vowed to fight the social evil of child labour and to create a child friendly society where in children and their rights are respected. The programme ended with a sumptuous meal provided for all present. Back