Children's Stories: Yasmin

India Moves Toward Ban of All Child Labor

YasminUntil now, India has allowed children under the age of 14 to work in what the government identifies as non-hazardous work. As GoodWeave supporters know, this policy still leaves many children at risk and unable to attend school. In late August 2012, the government was on its way to passing a full ban on all child labor for children under 14 years old, and to ban hazardous labor for anyone under the age of 18. GoodWeave Executive Director Nina Smith applauded the impending decision. “This will strengthen GoodWeave’s capacity to do its work,” she said. “Compliance will be more likely and there will be more government resources for remediation and education.”

The Child Labour Free India Campaign also celebrated the move toward a full ban on child labor. The Campaign is an ongoing effort of Bachpan Bachao Andolan, a pioneering organization working for child rights and against human trafficking in India, and Global March Against Child Labour. GoodWeave founder Kailash Satyarthi is also the founder of BBA and chairperson of Global March. “It is heartening to see that the government has accepted the key demands of the campaign for a child-labour-free India through the proposed amendments, and a step forward in protection of children’s rights in India,” said an August 28 press release from Global March. A petition by the campaign in favor of making India free of child labor won the support of celebrities and citizens alike.

Passage of the legislation will be a significant step, but implementation and compliance are likely to take continued commitment from all who oppose child labor. “It would undoubtedly be a remarkable victory for the vibrant civil society once the child labor law is amended and made stronger,” Kailash says. “But the entire political class must demonstrate political will in enforcement of the legislations by putting in adequate efforts, resources, accountability and an achievable timeframe.”

With the help of our supporters, donors and partners, GoodWeave India has worked for many years to rescue children from labor and exploitation to transition them to school. Fourteen-year-old Yasmin, a beneficiary of GoodWeave India programs, is one success story. With four sisters and one brother, Yasmin lost her mother several years ago and was made to weave carpets to earn money. “[Because of] the poor condition of the family, and under the pressure of my mother, my father never [allowed] us to go to the school,” Yasmin told GoodWeave. “I worked back-breaking labor along with my family members to improve the income of the family, so I had no time to study.”

Today, Yasmin is enrolled in an education center in her village, where she takes afternoon classes, including vocational tailoring and stitching classes. “I am happy with my study,” Yasmin says. “I work hard and I wish to be a good teacher.” With GoodWeave’s help, Yasmin will have a better chance to become a teacher, and will eventually share her beautiful smile with her own students for years to come.

Read more about the Child Labour Free India Campaign at the Wall Street Journal IndiaRealtime blog.