Victims of Child Slavery Visit Blair High School

Victims os Child slavery from India, Mexico and Colombia came to Blair and shared their experiences with some of the Blair students and staff members in an event sponsored by Blair's International Studies Academy.

    Child labor has become a very common problem in many countries where children of very young ages to teenagers are used as workers to work long hours, seven days a week.
    On April 25th the International Center on Child Labor and Education (ICCLE) brought real victims of child labor from India, Mexico and Colombia to Blair. Along with this group there was Dr. Sudhanshu Joshi, Executive Director for ICCLE and also a man named Mr. Kailash Satyarthi.
    Mr. Satyarthi, who is from India, is the founder of a movement called “Save the Children” and is also currently active in this program. He started this program in 1980. He said that he has spent 25 years of his life in rescuing children and has saved 69,000 children from child labor.
    Lenly, who is now 16 years old and is from Colombia, said that she had never gone to school for an education because from the age of 7, she was used as a laborer by restaurants. She also said that she lost her father at the age of 13. She was in the bondage of child labor for 10 years and was forced to work with no pay and little food. If she refused to work, she was also beaten up by the owner.
    Puran Banjara who is from India and is 16 years old said that he started to work as a stone breaker from the age of 6. “My owner paid me only 45 rupees [about 90 cents] a week and gave me food two times a day,” he said. “My owner was never satisfied by my hard work and used to beat me for no reason.”
    Today Puran is one of those children who has been saved by Mr. Satyarthi, and is currently living in a rehabilitation center in India where he is also studying in the 8th grade. In the rehabilitation center he is also provided with the basic things he needs.
    Puran is happy to be in the situation he is in today and also he wants to help other children who are still in the bondage of child labor because he knows the pain of being a child laborer.
    According to Dr. Joshi, Mr. Satyarthi, the founder of “Save the Children,” has been nominated for the Noble Peace prize for 2006 because of the important work he is doing.
    The event was sponsored by Blair’s Academy of International Studies led by Mr. Kevin Moose.

Puran, who is 16 years old, worked as a stone breaker in beginnig at the age of 6. Lenly is Colombian and is 16 years old. She worked in a restaurant beginning at the age of 7. Mohammad is 13 years old. He was a "rag picker" in India.




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