Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Kailash Satyarthi from http://www.pbs.org/opb/thenewheroes/
Projects: Global March Against Child Labor, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude (SACCS), Rugmark
Locations: New Delhi, India (headquarters), partners in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
Kailash Satyarthi has saved tens of thousands of lives. At the age of 26 he gave up a promising career as an electrical engineer and dedicated his life to helping the millions of children in India who are forced into slavery by powerful and corrupt business- and land-owners. His original idea was daring and dangerous. He decided to mount raids on factories — factories frequently manned by armed guards — where children and often entire families were held captive as bonded workers.
After successfully freeing and rehabilitating thousands of children, he went on to build up a global movement against child labor. Today Kailash heads up the Global March Against Child Labor, a conglomeration of 2000 social-purpose organizations and trade unions in 140 countries.
Yet even as he has become a globally recognized figure, Kailash continues the gritty work of leading raids to free slaves. Kailash believes that he must focus on a range of activities -- from the most grassroots to the most visionary -- in order to win the fight.
What Does SACCS Do?
Since its inception in 1989, SACCS and its partners have liberated nearly 40,000 bonded laborers, many of them bonded, working in various industries, including rug manufacturing. But to free such children without offering new opportunities would, in Kailash's view, be meaningless.
Bal Ashram in Rajasthan, India is a transition center where newly-freed slaves are taught basic skills. Kailash describes the arrival of a girl recently freed from a stone quarry: "It's a joyous experience to watch the changing emotions flit across this beautiful girl's face. She's like an open book, and her varying expressions tell us a story: the story of transition from slavery to a new life of freedom. When her face lights up, it is clear she is taking her first steps toward freedom and belief in others."
Since the Ashram can only serve 100 children at a time, Kailash has begun a program called "Bal Mitra Gram" to encourage Indian villages to abolish child labor. In order to be a part of the program, an entire community must agree that no child will be put to work and every child will be sent to school.
While changing India village by village is a worthwhile pursuit, such a strategy could take centuries to achieve Kailash's goal, and he is not prepared to wait that long. So he has begun attacking the problem by harnessing the immense power of market forces.
Many rugs from South Asia are manufactured using child labor. Kailash believes that if consumers around the world knew how their expensive and colorful Indian rugs were made, they would no longer think they were so beautiful. He started "Rugmark," a program in which rugs are labeled and certified to be child-labor-free by factories who that agree to be regularly inspected. Kailash plans to extend the labeling program to other products such as soccer balls, another popular product that is commonly made by children.
Kailash says "If not now, then when? If not you, then who? If we are able to answer these fundamental questions, then perhaps we can wipe away the blot of human slavery."
Notes on Kailash Satyaithi
Audience: Americans and other Westerners
Problem: Slavery in India; poverty in India leads to parents selling their kids and then the owner and government selling the debt and the person before they free themselves
What triggered his involvement?
He noticed the poverty as a child
(12); then at 26 he retired from career as an electrical engineer and devoted his life to freeing families from captivity and helping them start new lives by educating their children and training the parents in marketable skills.
Cast system might make a person feel resigned to situation….Dalit or “untouchable”
Assumption; Kailash must be a person of means?
Measurable results: built a village, training people for jobs, educating the kids, educating consumers with the Watermark
Taking the issue internationally so that the practice is not fed by consumption.
After this freewrite problem statement, we then went on-line to the Library webstie and looked at the databases Steve Gerstle suggests on his webpage (see faculty/staff from Library homepage: left side).
We searched for articles about the SE and his business or work.
English 201 B
Watching this story really makes me appreciate the little things that I have in life. It’s the little things in life that count. Although I LOVE cleaning I get a little antsy when my mom asks me to clean up my room or my bathroom. These kids at to work from sun up to sun down with little or no pay, if the got to sleep while they are supposed to be working they get beat. I get a reminding “Audra can you clean your bathroom and your room make your bed” I hate making my bed I will be back in it within hours, but were from Tennessee and my moms kind of old school we can’t leave the house with out making the bed. I am grateful for the little job and the BEAUTIFUL mother I do have. Although she kids around and try to sell me for fifty cents when I bug her in the food store, but she can’t live without me. We all should take time and say thank you for the people that we have in our lives and the nice things that we have.
This film was very heart felt. I think about all of the situations I complain about, when there are people across the country that are struggling twice as hard. I got emotional while watching this film because I rarely took the time to appreciate the mnay blessings that I've recieved in my ninieteen years of living.