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Reducing Child Labour through Youth Engagement and Empowerment and Inculcating Democratic Values

Child labor is a social and cultural issue in India, and many people residing in rural locations of the country consider it an acceptable practice. Instead of sending their children to school, some parents prefer their children to work on farms or to migrate to cities to earn money to contribute to the family’s livelihood. The families of children often see the short-term benefit of their child earning an additional income for the family and fail to see the long-term disadvantages of a lack of education on a child’s life. While child labour often leads to slavery at the hands of field owners or any factory owner, there is no denying of the fact that education with a holistic approach of engaging the village community and other stakeholders, is the only way out to eliminate child labour right at its source at the village level.

Therefore with the support of Robert Bosch Foundation Global March Against Chid Labour is fostering strong and organic grassroots civil society structures by engaging and empowering the young people and the community at large, promoting civic engagement and sustainable development, and inculcating democratic values for sustainable communities. 

It is being carried out in 20 villages and 7 hamlets of Jharkhand, Karnataka and Rajasthan through Global March India Partner Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA). Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) is India’s largest grassroots movement for the protection of children, ensuring their quality education. As on October 2014, BBA has rescued more than 83 500 victims of trafficking, slavery and child labour and has helped them re-establish trust in society and find promising futures for themselves.

Basing on BBA’s Child Friendly Village Model wherein children's council/Parliament (Bal Panchayat), youth groups (Yuva Mandals) and women groups (Mahila Mandals) have been formed,  a process of engagement, empowerment and partnership  has been established by Global March Against Child Labour, along with other influential villagers. The working of this child friendly village model starts with rights awareness and understanding, access to rights and state-sponsored services, and culminates through collective problem solving at the village level and strengthening of grassroots civil society structures especially of the young people.The project fosters crosslinkages with different government departments like education, medical, social welfare, etc., and their participation for overall delivery of services and access to rights.

While focus has been on ending child labour and promoting education through creation of child friendly communities, this project, takes a leap forward in trying to enhance the capacities of the grassroots civil society structures for understanding rights, and implementation of these rights,  as well as to adapt collaborative problem- solving to promote sustainable development, including environmental sustainability concerns at the village level. The project also focuses on democratic development at the village level.




Supported by Robert Bosch Foundation