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end child slaveryKailash Satyarthi has devoted his life’s work to one goal: to end child slavery. In 1980, Satyarthi quit his job as a teacher and founded Bachpan Bachao Andolan, which translates to Save the Childhood Movement. Bachpan Bachao Andolan is an organization that has freed over 87,000 children from slavery to date.

Achievements

In 2014, Satyarthi won the Nobel Peace Prize for the “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.” Additionally, he has been working at the United Nations to push governments to prioritize goals focusing on children and their needs, as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Satyarthi also founded the Global March Against Child Labor in 1998. It is “the largest civil society network for the most exploited children.” The march stretches across 103 countries. Moreover, it resulted in “the unanimous adoption of the [International Labor Organization] Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor.”

Fight for Freedom

Alongside his team, Satyarthi works in the field on dangerous missions. These missions involve physically going into factories where children are forced to work and attempting to liberate them. The team regularly faces a large amount of backlash from factory owners who want to exploit children for increased profits. At times, clashes have turned violent. In these cases, those on Satyarthi’s team suffer injuries, with Satyarthi himself having ended up in the hospital on occasion. However, the team believes this risk is worth it to end child slavery.

Once liberated, Satyarthi and his team bring the children to the Bal Ashram, where the children are cleaned and fed. The children’s parents are then contacted. Parents are only able to take their child home upon providing documentation to prove their relationship to their child.

If they choose to, children can also return to the Bal Ashram to receive a proper education. In offering this, Satyarthi ensures children have the opportunity to get a well-paying career and not return to child labor.

Mobilization

On top of his work in the field, Satyarthi began a letter-writing campaign. His campaign involved over 15,000 people writing to the top 100 American retailers and asking them not to sell products created by child labor. Unfortunately, retailers in Western countries continue to exploit child slavery in developing nations to maintain lower prices. However, these retailers hold the power to fight child slavery should they demand their manufacturers to stop child labor.

In 2016, Satyarthi started the 100 Million campaign, an initiative that pushes for 100 million children around the globe “to speak out for the world’s more than 100 million child workers.” Satyarthi hopes that an empowered youth can enact positive change. As such, empowered youth can raise awareness of and fight to end child slavery in their respective nations.

Kailash Satyarthi has not only devoted his life to an incredibly noble cause but has actually enacted the positive change that he desires to see in the world. While there are still millions of children in slavery, the number has been steadily declining. With the efforts of the brave men, women and, most importantly, children who are helping Satyarthi in his goals, child slavery may one day become a thing of the past.

– Anish Kelkar
Photo: Flickr

Fighting for one’s own education in this world is an honorable feat that many aspire for but sadly do not accomplish. At the age of seventeen Malala Yousafzai did just that. She is known for being the youngest person to receive a Nobel Peace Prize for her activism for right for women to have access to education.

Malala was born in 1997 in Mingora, Pakistan, where she was not banned from the opportunity to have an education. Yousafzai attended a school that her father founded. Once the Taliban began attacking their rights to education, she knew she had to say something about it. She gave a speech in 2008 entitled “How dare the Taliban take away my right to basic education?” This was just the start of her growing platform of writing and speeches in activism towards girl’s education.

In 2009, Yousafzai made her first BBC blog post that exposed the daily hardships that girls faced daily in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. Her posts were under a pseudonym that eventually was discovered. At the time the Taliban in the area was banning all girls from attending school, this did not stop Yousafzai from her protests. Even after her name was discovered, Yousafzai continued to post blogs about the daily violence, intimidation, ridicule and suffering that the girls faced.

As her popularity grew, the Taliban began to view Yousafzai as a threat. The uprisings built up and on October 2012, as Yousafzai was boarding her school bus, she was shot three times. The injury was so serious she was sent to Birmingham, England for further care. Even after the attempted assassination, Yousafzai continued to be an activist for women’s rights, especially education.

The United Nations petition for all children to have access to education by 2015, was inspired by Yousafzai. She has been honored with countless awards, including the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize along with Kailash Satyarthi of India, who is fighting against child slavery around the world. Both individuals were awarded because of their efforts towards “their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”

Malala Yousafzai is a perfect example that if you have a strong enough belief in something, you do have the power to enact change. She stood up for not only herself, but girls all across the world who were told that they would not be given an education.

The power of one voice is truly strong enough to rattle the world.

Charisma Thapa

Sources: Optimist World, A&E, USA Today

Photo: Flickr