Covid 19 And Child Labour In India- Why it is time for action?
“aaA.. Bha..ba..B..cee..C..” Heera was learning how to write her alphabets for the first time! How exciting it must be for her. To the cacophony of rocks tumbling and screaming she has found her little nook during her lunch break. Lunch break sadly consisted of no roti’s for today so she had to make do with what she had- a half eaten apple. So she skinned the apple with her teeth and put together the different formations of the alphabets.
She didn’t know beyond C but thats okay because with those three letters she learnt the word “CAB” which basically means the four wheel cycle that choti malik uses to come back and forth from the mines. It is said that it is mysteriously always cold inside, at least it beats this heat. Sweat beads are all we’ve known when we wait patiently for the rains or the night.
Heera is just among the millions of children who are pushed to the vicious cycle of child labour. She is just 9 and still helps her parents be a part of a mining mafia. She is part of many children who are forced to do the same in the mines for as little as 50 rupees. The exposure to mica has taken a lot of lives and thanks to covid19, these illegal mines have monetized the ever growing poor in the country. The age for child labour in India ranges from anywhere from around 5-17 years of age again depending on the industry.
With many children being left parentless, due to the pandemic and harsh working conditions, child trafficking as well has come to an all time high. Even in the past, there have been so many deaths of children due to mines that have been covered up by offering blood money. Thanks to good journalism, we come to know at least a few cases. But what about those that we do not know of?
Child labour is present all over the world, In India, there are so many different professions that children undertake to help make ends to meet. And most are extremely abusive. Our children should not be holding the weight of the world on their shoulders.
This worldwide crisis has led to a sharp increase in child labour and trafficking and it is about time that this issue recieved the attention it should. Everyone talks about the lack of medical infrastructure during covid-19 but nobody wonders what happens in villages where both parents or even one parent succumbs to covid19.
Child labour statistics show that there 159 MILLION children around the world that are supposedly victims of child labour and more than 7% is in India. And this statistics was for pre-covid times.
We probably don’t even know how many children are being abused under child labour as we are reading this one article right now. Take a minute. Think about it. Now what can you do?
What can YOU do?
Do not encourage any kind of company who indulge in child labour. This can include boycotting such businesses or indulging in activism. Activism again can be even on online spaces. Raising awareness and children who are aware of the bad in the world when they are in their teens is important. They are the stakeholders of the future and must be able to stand for what’s right. Teaching your child what is wrong is an important step in making a change, because you never know. Maybe your child will be the torchbearer that helps break this cycle in the future.
Facts About Child Labour In India
- There are 33 million children as young as 4 years of age who are exposed to child labour in India.
- 4 out of 5 children work with no pay.
- The RTE or Right to Education guarantees free formal education for 5 to 14 year olds. But the downside is this has led to a spike in after 14 most children are either pawned away or end up working as maids or indulge in labour.
- Free school doesn’t guarantee attendance so work and school is done together in most cases
- Rural areas carry over 80% of the weight of child labour in India.
Do your part, support NGOs who indulge in social work. Understand how economic conditions and caste go hand in hand. Understand oppression.
Educate, Agitate, Organize for a better future!