“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in”

12th June – The World Day against Child Labor shines like a beacon of light opening the doors of the future for children who might have lost them in the race for bread. 

On a breezy afternoon, if you look beyond the life of bounty you’ve been gifted, a bitter truth will come crashing upon you. Dingy warehouses, tea shops, house help, you’ll bump into them everywhere. Drooping, lifeless faces with their head and hopes lowered forever.

Children without childhood.

Each year on this day, we commemorate the Day against Child Labour. The pale faces flash before us, our heart swims in sympathy – and the sun sets. World over, more than 160 million ‘suns’ have set already, and all we have done is stared in awe. 

the einsteins swallowed

With every child that is compelled to go for a pickaxe instead of a paintbrush, we run out of another precious asset for society. Yet this chain of thought evades people who are only bothered about fragile short-term gains.

As per the data from Census 2021, about 10.1 million children are in the hellhole of labor. The proportion of males and females is strikingly similar. Factoring in the COVID 19 pandemic and the economic crisis sweeping the world, the number has clearly risen by leaps and bounds.

Child labor is prominent in regions like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Maharashtra. The correlation between the low literacy rates and the skyrocketing child labor statistics shows the lakhs deprived of even basic education in these areas. 

The form of work is not pleasing either. A large slice is taken by informal sectors – domestic weaving, matchstick industry, bangle making, and every other work which only ends in darkness. Some among them could be budding Einsteins and Ramanujans. They were all chewed by social machinery that cares more for itself than tender, soft-hearted children. 

the toll it takes

Along with the surface-level issues of a shrinking educated workforce and diminishing standard of living, child labor does much more harm than meets the eye. More often than not, it plays the role of an engine to child trafficking rackets embroiling in the world. The mental health of the children often goes for a toss, and it takes a lifetime for them to steer away from the trauma. Their voices continue to be hushed, and their dreams continue to be crushed. 

hands of action

Change begins at home. These children today do not need a heart of sympathy but hands driven towards action. Policy interferences by the government have worked wonders, but until even a single child bears the weight of this hidden slavery, this weight cannot be lifted from our society.

Add the flames to the fuel of change. Click on the button below to don the hat of our changemaker. Let’s ensure that no sun sets this time.  

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