“If we want to develop our country we should first develop a bright future for children”
Child Labour is an injustice done to the children depriving them of their basic right to learn, play and enjoy childhood. The children have to do menial jobs for meagre income for a longer duration without any complaint to satisfy their hunger.
Anti-Child Labour Day in India is observed every year on April 30 which falls a day before Labour Day. Unfortunately, India has the highest number of child labourers in the world. There are 11.29 million child labourers in India, which constitutes 1.34 per cent of the total population of the country. Though anti-child labour laws were amended by the Government through Child Labour Act 1986, which enforces a ban on employment of children under the age of 14, still children are victims of child abuse and exploitation.
Though a child craves to go to school and enjoy studying and playing with friends, he can’t pursue his education due to lack of food and finance. When hunger dominates, he is ready to forgo school and prefer to work for a square meal. Hence the child ends up as labourer at the prime of his innocence; when he is supposed to enjoy childhood.
Akshaya Patra on realising the link between child labour and hunger serves mid-day meals to children in Government schools under the Government’s Mid-day Meal Scheme. The organisation implements the scheme to eliminate classroom hunger and bring children back to schools opening to them the gates of progress. Aiming to end hunger and promote education the organisation works tirelessly to serve nutritious food every day to feed the hungry children in India and promote education which eventually will free children from child labour.
Akshaya Patra calls upon all of us, as responsible citizens, to help feed the hungry children by providing charity or sponsoring a child through the organisations mid-day meal scheme. Fifteen years of tireless efforts has increased the Foundation’s reach to 25 locations and providing food to 1.5 million children in India. This had led to increased enrolment in schools, sustained attendance and increased nutritious health of children.
Hunger-free education is the only solution to end child labour, school is the best place for a child to spend his life and pen is the best instrument to work with. It’s our duty to ask a child to ‘learn’ and ‘not earn.’ Child labour is never a solution to end the social disease of poverty but it perpetuates poverty rather than irradiating poverty.
To give every child a life filled with colours, let us join hands with Akshaya Patra in its mid-day meal scheme to feed the hungry children on this Anti-Child Labour Day.