Disha - ChildFund India’s Fight Against Child Labour
Closer to the interior city of Agra, Firozabad is a suburban industrial town in the north of India. Famous for its glassware, especially bangles, Firozabad is equally notorious for the prevalence of child labor in their production. About 50,000 children are reported to be involved in this work. Further, the situation is complicated and tricky because it is mostly parents who involve children in their bangle making units. The nature of work requires no advanced skills or expertise, which means it is easy to train even very young children.
Families prefer the trade despite its low returns, because it still generates more and regular cash income than marginal farming or agricultural wages. The economic compulsions and perhaps relative lack of sensitivity has turned parents into exploiters of their own children. They willingly or unwillingly, wake up their children at 3a.m. to begin work. Bangle making is done in small, crowded, dark rooms with no ventilation and air circulation (it is important that there is no air to keep the flame from flickering). This creates various health hazards for children and adults.
A child working in one of these bangle-making establishment says - ‘This is my daily routine, starting from morning 8 o’clock. As I wake up, my day starts with these bangles. All the families living here also start their day with these bangles. This is very hazardous for our health as all the smoke coming out of the burning kerosene directly enters our lungs through our nose and mouth which causes a lot of problem for us. This work is very dangerous for our health but since we have no other option, we are compelled to take up this work.’
Disha, a project which is very close to the core content of ChildFund India encourages young children and youth to come out of child labour. It promotes education and also encourages entrepreneurship in Firozabad. The children are given training under the ‘Sustainable Livelihood Development Program’ so they can achieve their potential and dreams.
The girls taking vocational skill training classes at the ‘Youth Resource Centre’ are clubbed in a group. These girls recently participated in Taj Mahotsav by setting up their own stalls, through which they received a positive response. They are trying to better themselves with the training offered at YRC so they can establish themselves in their community, sell things made by them and progress in life.
Anjali - one of the project beneficiary says - ‘I have taken training in entrepreneurship. My project was of making soft toys under which I worked along with a group. Recently, Taj Mahotsav was held in Agra where I sold two things made by me. These things were liked a lot by the customers. We have received good response so far. I just want to work on my weaknesses and improve my skills for which I need more training.’
Sustainable Livelihood Development Program aims to unleash the creativity, imagination and entrepreneurship potential of the youth. SLDP plays a major role in bringing gender-balance to the activity of the community. The majority of the successful participants being women, SLDP makes women more independent in familial and social context!
ChildFund is a child development organization representing the voice of deprived, excluded and vulnerable children in India regardless of their race, creed and gender, since 1951. We annually reach nearly 3 million children, youth, and their families, from 3200 communities in 85 districts across 15 states in India, through our long and short-term programs and partnerships.
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