Whenever a child comes into world his parents and relatives starts weaving dreams for their little bundle of joy. On our birthdays, any festivals or celebration our elder bless us, saying very often-‘May god bless you!’, ‘You will get big one day’ and the list seems endless. But when same child birth happens in any poverty stricken family then what blessings he or she gets? Ever wondered? They are probably considered another helping hand in their family and get the lifetime curse to be a ‘Child Labour’.
It is considered to be the worst social practices that exist in our society without any hindrances in it. Go to any roadside tea stalls, dhabas or small eateries you will surely see small boys working there as helpers or washing plates. These unfortunate children have to face the disguise of life from very young age that affects their mental and physical wellbeing. They are considered as ‘mechanical resources’ fruitful for economic purpose rather than human entity. Small fingers that should be used to lift pencil are used to wash cups and saucer!
I remember still for our finals Sociology project of Class 12 we were given the topic of Child labour for which we have to survey many parts of Kolkata. We formed 6 teams comprising of two members each and ventured out for our survey, which brought some grim realities in front of us. We surveyed near famous Kalighat temple, Howrah stations, various local suburban stations and local eateries where many children earn their livelihood by begging or as helping boy. They were too terror stricken to speak up about their condition. From them we came to know how ill- treated they were by their families and master. Most of them have accepted it as their ultimate fate yet many among them aspire for change. The household localities surveyed by proved this fact that nearly 50% of domestic helpers are under 14.According to law employing child below 14yrs old is a punishable offence leading to imprisonment also. It touched our hearts immensely that in era of modernization, technological advancements when we proudly flaunt our achievements still a section of society suffers silently. And the sad part is these children were deprived from their basic rights of childhood. We say child is symbol of Golden future. But is it so in reality?
From eateries to small scale factories, the menace of child labour is spreading its webs rapidly. Everyday news reports of exploitation of child labourer and attrocities committed against them has become a common topic.Although many schemes and projects have been launched by the government for their upliftment yet the situation continues to be same in many places. But a ray of silver lining can be seen due to the establishment of some famous NGOs like ANK, based in Delhi, NCR region which helped in giving shape to this utopian movement. It started in 2005 onwards with an aim to reach out to most of the children from underprivileged families in getting proper education and healthcare facilities. And they got a remarkable success in their initiative to a great extent. So more than initiatives which calls our immediate concern are mass awareness. Until the mindsets of the people can be changed nothing worthwhile can be achieved ever. So let join hands to curb out this evil practice of child labour from its root and make the world a better place to live in.