Education for disenfranchised children
The Redel Foundation is supporting the work of Caritas international and its partners to stop child labour in West Bengal, freeing the children from slave-like conditions and enabling them to attend school.
Child labour is fairly widespread in India. It is always the families on the margins of society whose children are expected to work and help support everyone. There is no time for school and the cycle of poverty continues.
Prevention of child labour in West Bengal
Around 100 children currently living in care, almost all of whom are former child labourers, stand in front of the Children Rehabilitation Centre in freshly ironed school uniforms and packed school bags. Over the past eight years, around 250 children have been rescued by employees of the children’s rights organisation Bal Suraksha Abhiyan Trust (BSAT) and the police. In addition to liberating these children, the project is aiming to significantly increase the number of boys and girls attending school.
In order to secure the rights of the children to protection and education, there needs to be a greater awareness of the situation among the population and the state. Child protection committees and children’s rights networks are being set up at community and district level for this purpose, which have a supervisory function and serve to remind authorities of their duty. Facilities are required for victims of child labour, along with a comprehensive criminal prosecution of those people who allow it to happen. For the children themselves there are children’s clubs, which provide support and assistance, for example with homework. Here, they also learn how to stand up for their rights. In order to recognise the special requirements of the children and how to support their development, the teachers are provided with training in how to counteract the children’s exclusion. Tutoring courses aim to help the children catch up on the subjects they missed. The parents also play an important role, as the success of this project largely depends on their willingness to participate. They are encouraged during parent seminars to send their children to school.