Delhi school children speak out against child labour
“This Diwali, I want to help 4 children in child labour instead of burning crackers.” – said Nirdhi, an 11 year old student from The Sri Ram School in Delhi.
Many other children echo similar sentiments: “Save their rights & do it right yourself.”
The brainstorming session was held under the aegis of a project conducted by UNICEF and The YP Foundation, an organization promoting young people’s voices by supporting projects on Child Rights, Child Labour and Child Domestic Labour.
Young people are critical in motivating their peers to realize what Child Rights means, to become pro-active citizens and help young people believe that they have immense strength, to be able to create a difference in their own communities.
Involving twenty young Peer Educators from the YP Foundation and UNICEF over 1000 students from 10 schools across Delhi participated in a two part workshop series that sensitized young people between the ages of 10 and 16 to increase their knowledge of Child Rights, Child Labour and Child Domestic Labour.
The workshop also marked the 1st anniversary of the amendments to the Child Labour (Prevention) Act in India and gave children a chance to connect using theatre, music and art to understand how the Rights of the Child apply to their lives.
“This project made me think beyond my own world, it’s made me remember that I am responsible and that I can’t pass that responsibility on to anyone else anymore.” - Saudamini, a 19 year old Peer Facilitator.
Using the popular UNICEF girl child icon Meena and the medium of open forum theatre the theatre group Manzil enacted a play that described some of the realities children in domestic labour experience.
In a clever bit of improvisation, they invited students from the school to substitute the actors at the climax in the play, and explored the different ways in which they could make a positive impact and increase communication.
In an act of solidarity, students came together to create an art wall, a series of posters that expressed their beliefs. Using waste material innovatively, the students used words like ‘love’, ‘respect’, ‘play’, ‘food’ and ‘rights’ to advocate what young people can do. This exhibition will be shared throughout October and November with young people across New Delhi.
Says Ishita, a 22 year old Project Coordinator from The YP: “It’s small realizations like that, that are really encouraging. They also remind you that to enable the rights of all children, the most effective change starts with me.”