Kanaka V, a 17-year-old girl from Bengaluru, will be addressing the Parliament on 20 November, to mark the event of Universal Children's Day organised by the UNICEF. In all, 30 children from across the world have been selected to address the Parliament.
Kanaka is one of the four children who has been selected from India. She will speak about the problem of child labour and child rights in the India.
Kanaka underwent three rounds of audition before being selected from among hundreds of children from Karnataka.
"There are many children like me who suffer in slums and rural areas across the world. Law enforcement is not effective enough to tackle child labour and other child abuses," Kanaka said. She will also talk about the struggles she faced after her mother passed away.
Kanaka was forced to drop out of school after her mother, a domestic help was diagnosed with cancer. With her father being physically challenged and her mother a cancer patient, Kanaka was forced into rag picking and domestic labour along with her sister near Yeshvanthpur. After her ailing mother passed away, she was clueless about her future and continued the domestic labour.
"I feel so happy and proud to represent children like me, I will ensure that I will make sure of this opportunity to conscientise the society on child begging, child labour and child abuse," she said.
In 2011, Volunteers of Sparsha, an NGO that fights against child labour, came across Kanaka while she was doing domestic labour. They rescued Kanaka and her elder sister Kavya and brought them to the shelter home in Hesaraghatta.
Kanaka was admitted to Class VI. After passing Class X with 80% marks, she is currently pursuing her PU first year from BGS college in Hesaraghatta. Kanaka is now determined to focus on her academics and become a scientist one day.
Gopinath, one of the managing trustees of SPARSHA said this was the happiest moment for them as Kanaka's achievement inspire them to work more for the underprivileged children. Established in 2004, SPARSHA has rescued almost 3000 children across Karnataka.