Freed from shackles, these children go on to excel

While some children continued to be employed in various places during yet another International Day Against Child Labour, a few others who were rescued from such hardships had reasons to celebrate.

Prominent among them were Melvin, Chandni, Abdul and Thameem, who were rescued from child labour, went on to excel in the recently concluded SSLC examination. All the four hail from one of the economically backward areas of the city and were rescued from volunteers of Srikanteshwara Child Labour Rehabilitation School.

Thameem was employed in a store that sold bags, while Melvin was employed by a clothes dealer. Chandni was forced to roll incense sticks at her home, while Abdullah used to work in a tea stall in the city, before being rescued. All the four were given school bags during the International Day Against Child Labour, for passing the exams.

Aspirations

Today, the four have dreams and aspirations, which they couldn’t have had earlier.

Chandni, a resident of Kyatamaranahalli was the last among the five children in her family. During a survey by the School volunteers, Chandni, who was then 10 years old, was found rolling incense sticks throughout the day. After being rescued, she successfully completed her SSLC in the School. With Chandni’s family facing difficulties in making ends meet, she is unsure of joining college and has gone back to rolling incense sticks. “She needs some economic support to continue her education,” noted Mary, a teacher at the school.

Thameem, a resident of Ghousianagar, now aspires to be a bank manager. Braving odds and having scored 74 per cent in SSLC, currently he is pursuing PUC in Commerce, in a college attached to the school. Expressing happiness that he was given a prize in a district level forum for the first time, he said that it was the poverty at home that pushed him to labour. “Being the third of the four children at home, I started working when I was eight years old,” he said. He was rescued when he was 11.

Melvin used to earn his bread by working in a textile store. His parents sell lemon on the city streets and he is last of the four children. He said that he aspires to be a teacher to serve the society. Abdullah, the boy who worked in a tea store, now has set himself a target of completing his degree before deciding on his future. He too is last of the four children, whose parents are daily wage labourers in Kyatamaranhalli.

Srikantaiah, administrator of the School, which won the best rehabilitation school in the State last year, recalled another rescued child labourer, named Arun Kumar. Hailing from KR Pet taluk in Mandya district, he was rescued while working in a hotel. “He complained about the difficulties at his home and showed interest to pursue education,” he recalled. Today, Arun Kumar is pursuing Civil Engineering at Bahubali College of Engineering, Shravanabelagola.

“Many children fortunate enough to be rescued from child labour have scripted a good future for themselves,” he said.

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