I think many of my friends have already written about child labour, its cause and effect. What I would wish to focus is the problem of school drop outs and how we can work towards sustainibility of every street children’s education. As a fact if we as responsible citizens do not think and reach out towards the sustainibility of education it would be very difficult for us to fight against child labour.
Let me start with a very simple example, the maid who worked in my house back in India had four children. Out of the four the elder daughter was married and the
other three worked in different areas to earn bread for the family along with their mother.Their father had died long back, hence children were mainly the sole earner
of the family. The second daughter was of the age around 16-17 who used to share the responsibilty along with her mother to wash dishes, the third son around the
age 14 used to work in a local factory(biri making), the fourth son around the age 11-12 used to work in a local tea shop in the evening and during day time he would attend the nearby government school with some very nominal fees. One day I asked my maid that if the charge of the school is very nominal and if we support her then will she agree to re-admit the other two children who were already a school drop out at the age of 14 and 16 respectively? The answer that she gave was a very common
answer I am sure each one of us is familier with. She replied saying “Didi beshi porashona koriyee ki hobe tokhon to ei soob choto khato kaaj korbee na aar boro
chakri paoyaa to amder shadhee r bayiree.Tayi songsar e ekhon ja aschee tokhon tao ashbe na”. Oi nirokhorota dur hoyechee, bus train er number portee paree, nijer
naam soi kortee paree setayii aneek. Let me translate the meaning in english for non bengali speakers.It means “What would be the benefit of re-admiting and giving
the children the opportunity to learn more in life? As, if they go for higher education i.e continue school and opt for college then they will not be willing to work in a tea stall or a biri factory. They would want a decent job. Given our economic, social and financial status what decent job will they get? Hence in future may be they will be unable to contirbute the small amount also that today they are contributing to the family. My children are not illitrate, they can read numbers of trains and buses and also can sign their names that is more than enough”.
So friends I hope the example above clearly proves how important it is for us to think of sustainibility of education inorder to fight against child labour. The first step that each one of us can start with is try to convince the parents about the future of education. Most parents are really unaware about different types of jobs that are created in India today. We must convince them that if one takes interest and strives towards education and succeds well in examination in that case
social/financial/economic barriers can be crossed,it is not absolutely impossible.
But for that the parents needs to take the first step. It is we who should try to
convince the parents that they should start to believe that there children also can prove to the world that “THEY CAN”.