World Day Against Child Labour: A Step Towards Change

Observed on June 12th every year, World Day Against Child Labour calls attention to the problem of child labour and the plight of children involved in the process worldwide. Child labour refers to depriving a child of his/her childhood by hampering their holistic development. At present, 541 workers between the ages of 15 to 24 constitute 15% of the total world’s labour force. Additionally, 152 million children between the ages of 5 to 17 around the world are engaged in child labour out of whom, 73 million are involved in work which is hazardous in nature.

(Source:http://www.ilo.org/ipec/Campaignandadvocacy/wdacl/lang–en/index.htm)

Launched by The International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2002, the day primarily focuses on the global extent of the issue and the actions required to address the problem, eventually eliminating it fully. In 2018, the focal point stands on a joint global campaign including World Day for Safety and Health (Safe Day) and World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) emphasizing on the need to improve safety and health of young workers and to end child labour, respectively.

“You can’t regulate child labour. You can’t regulate slavery. Some things are just wrong.”– Michael Moore

The time to act is now or never! Policy level and systematic changes will happen in due course of time, but there are small changes that can be incorporated in our lives to shift the status quo and free children from the bonds of slavery. We all need to educate ourselves and others around us to this pressing problem of child labour. There are some small ways that can help you kick-start this journey towards a nation where children are not caught up in a never ending vicious cycle of labour:

WAYS TO ELIMINATE CHILD LABOUR

1. Check the age of your domestic help

A child does not deserve to wash your dishes when he/she can enroll in a school. Always ensure to check the age of your maids, servants and cooks before hiring them.  Deny having them on board if they are below the age of 18.

2. Review national laws regarding child labour

Educate yourself about the national laws regarding child labour. This will help you make right decisions and choices whenever needed and also help you gain knowledge about the dos and don’ts with respect to child labour.

3. Provide support to children involved in child labour

Step up when you witness child labour in your environment. As a responsible citizen, it is your duty to speak up against and report ill practices that you see around you and support children involved in it; you can do so by calling on 1098 (Toll-Free). This is a 24-hour telephone helpline for children in distress. Further, you should educate the employer and the child’s guardians about the wrong they are doing by letting a child indulge in such activities and how it could land them in trouble.

WAYS TO IMPROVE SAFETY AND HEALTH OF YOUNG WORKERS

1. Educating young workers

In an organisation, it is vital for a worker to be aware about the processes in place related to their safety and health. Keeping employees in loop with regard to harassment cells, medical facilities like access to ambulances, fire extinguishers etc. can help them act effectively in case of a life threatening situation.

2. Carry out workplace risk assessment

It is vital to ensure that you provide a safe environment for your workers and employees to work in. Carry out a risk assessment activity to measure safety standards in the workplace. This will also help you address to the loopholes and act on them beforehand.

3. Ensuring a first aid box in the workplace is the way to go

It is necessary for every workplace to have a safety kit in place in case of any emergency or any other related situation. This saves last minute panic.

Role of SOS Children’s Villages of India

SOS Children’s Villages of India is committed to ensure the health and safety of all children under its care. Besides providing them with nutritional, wholesome meals in a day, regular health check-ups are conducted by SOS India to monitor the health status of children. We have easy access to quality care services that include regular visits by a full time/part time doctor of the Village, tie ups with local and government hospitals and full time/part time nurse availability in the Village.

How SOS India fights against Child Labour

Family Strengthening Programme (FSP), one of the flagship programmes of SOS India is a preventive community intervention programme, designed to prevent children from losing parental care and getting abandoned. It aims at enabling families to move out of the vicious circle of poverty towards greater dignity and self-reliance by ensuring education of children, skill building, income generation and capacity building of the primary caregivers in a span of 5-7 years. By doing so, vulnerability of children stemming out from such families is minimised and they are at a much lesser risk of getting involved in child labour. Besides education, health standards of all children enrolled in the FSP are also regularly monitored.

“Preparing and preventing is always better than repairing and repenting.”- Anonymous

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