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How to stop child labour in India

Child labour deprives childhood. It is a problem that has stakeholders everywhere asking in unison: “How to stop child labour in India?” One of the ways that the call to deliver children to a brighter future is answered by NGOs, relentless crusaders who dedicate their lives to devising and implementing ways to prevent child labour.

Here are some crucial ways that NGOs are working towards this mission.

Education as the Antidote

Poverty and lack of education often lead to child labour. Desperate families send their children to work for immediate financial relief. NGOs intervene by establishing alternative education centres, providing scholarships and lobbying for stronger laws concerning mandatory school attendance. Through quality education, they provide children with the necessary tools and knowledge to break free from the poverty cycle and exploitation.

Rescue and Rehabilitation

NGOs play a critical part in saving these children from workplaces full of exploitation by working cooperatively with law enforcement agencies. Their rescue and rehabilitation programmes serve as one of the most effective ways to prevent child labour. After rescuing them, they provide secure places to reside, as well as medical services.

Community Empowerment

Child labour has to be addressed at the root level. NGOs embolden communities through their awareness drives that teach families about the hazards of child labour. They engage with community leaders, local businesses and government agencies to establish a positive environment where children are safe and their rights are enforced.

Skills Development and Livelihood Opportunities

The key to ending the child labour cycle is the provision of ongoing livelihoods for families. They empower parents with vocational skills and livelihood opportunities, thereby setting up a safety net that makes child labour unnecessary. This enables families to send their children to school without having any financial problems and hence sets a bright future for generations ahead.

Advocacy and Policy Change

Systemic change is necessary for lasting impact. NGOs lobby for tougher laws against child labour, demanding more powerful enforcement and punitive measures on the culprits. They collaborate with the government to come up and implement child-friendly policies, as well as invest in social welfare programmes that deal with causes of poverty by addressing them at their roots.

Conscious Consumption

NGOs urge consumers to choose products with ethical labels. They draw visibility to labels on items like clothes, snacks, and other goods, to make sure they’re not made by companies that use child labour. It is crucial to support ethical and fair-trade products to promote responsible production that values workers’ welfare, and NGOs build a social momentum for making informed, conscious purchases. Over time, this is helping build a global supply chain that respects human rights.

The role of Bal Raksha Bharat

NGO Bal Raksha Bharat (Save the Children) has been running the ‘Work: No Child’s Business‘ project in Bihar, Delhi, and Rajasthan since June 2019. In Delhi, it focuses on kids in the garment industry in East and South-East Delhi. In Bihar, we work with children doing domestic, agricultural, and other work in six districts. These initiatives answer the question, “How to stop child labour in India?” and are implemented to empower children for quality education and future employability in a supportive family and community. Towards this, it is working to increase enrolment and retention in formal education, provide vocational training, and collaborate with the government to enforce child-rights laws. It is also strengthening Child Protection Committees to address child protection issues in collaboration with District Child Protection Units. In 2021, the NGO partnered with the Department of Labour, Government of Rajasthan for a joint campaign against child labour.

It is important to break the chains of child labour by putting in a joint effort. Steps to be taken by the governments at this level include social welfare programmes being identified as a top priority, strengthening legislation regarding education and child protection, and ensuring that financial resources are made available for these proceedings. It is also the responsibility of businesses to have ethical supply chains and refuse practices that involve child exploitation. We, as individuals, also have a role to play. A world where every child has the right to an education, a safe childhood and a future filled with hope and opportunity can be created together. Let us be the generation that frees our children from chains of child labour and builds a brighter path for all India’s beloved youngsters.

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