What comes to your mind when we say ‘Childhood’? Perhaps, the most innocent and playful period of our lives when the world revolved around playing, school, family, and friends without the cognizance of worldly troubles. But the definition of childhood for over 10 million children in India is about dust, heat, labour, and deprivation. Their first step to understanding the world does not take them into schools but into the trap of labour at construction sites, agricultural lands, drugs factories, and even hazardous environments.
History of CASA’s Child Labour Free Zone Project (CLFZ)
In 1997, CASA initiated the Restoring Lost Childhood Project (RLCP)which marked our journey in abolishing child labour from practice in India. Within a span of 10 years, over 6000 child labourers in Andhra Pradesh and 12000 in Tamil Nadu were emancipated from exploitative forms of labour such as bidi rolling, tannery, allied agricultural work, constructions, and hotels.
Following this enormous success, the project was mapped into creating the Child Labour Free Zone (CLFZ), where several initiatives such as an income generation program, Bridge Course Centres, and skill training program continued to supplement CASA’s endeavor in not only eradicating child labour but also preventing any financial or social conditions from compelling the rescued souls back into any forms of labour.
From the Clutches of labour to the trap of Pandemic
We never know if they would return to schools after the second wave of the pandemic. But what we can certainly do to save their innocent childhood, is to immediately resume classes at the Bridge Course Centre. We can not let the pandemic widen the distance between the rescued children and their schooling anymore.It is rightly said that, when there is a will, there is a way. To make online education accessible to the students, we need to first bridge the digital divide by
- Providing them with smartphones.
- Shifting the Bridge Course Centre to online mode
102 emancipated child labour has been enrolled at the Bridge Course Centre for the batch 2019-20. To provide each of them with a smartphone we need to raise a sum of Rs. 1, 122, 000.
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