Kolkata, Oct 15 (UNI) It makes us feel good that we could touch the lives of so many people, said Anand Sharma, a UK-based Reckitt Benckiser employee, who returned from a fun-raising trekking campaign from the Himalayas, today.
''Approximately 15 lakh children throughout India are oppressed and forced to work as household labour, with no hopes for education or a decent life,'' Sandra Hennessy of the company's department of Corporate Communication told UNI, while speaking on how she organised this fund-raising expedition on behalf of her company.
She belives there is lot to be done for poor children all over the world. But, in India, a large section of these children are forced to help their parents out by working as household help along with their mothers or even worse all by themselves with no time to go to school or learn a vocation.
''We work from early morning till late at night and cannot even think of studying or going to school. My father comes home drunk every night and my mother is so tired after working at people's houses like me, she gets upset if I ever raise the issue of going to school,'' 12-year-old Nita recounted to UNI.
These child workers come from different parts of the country.
Most of them are from villages, where one would find no traces of modernisation. Families leave their homes and come to the city in search of opportunities. Instead, the children, who are more vulnerable to exploitation, are trafficked for the specific purpose of domestic work, explains a member of 'Save the Children', an international non governmental human rights agency.
In Kolkata, there are more than 50,000 child workers, despite the fact that employing children has become illegal under the Child Labour Prevention Act, 2006.
A Central Kolkata missionary school, in collaboration with the organisation, is presently providing recreational sessions, vocational courses and opportunity to acquire primary education.
The five-day trekking expedition completed yesterday. The trekkers had come to meet the young workers, who were learning and enjoying their new-found life at this missionary school. The trekking campaign has managed to raise about Rs 80 lakh--half of which would go to the 'Save the Children'.
The trekkers were from 20 countries including the UK, US, Indonesia, India, South Africa, Bangladesh, Greece, Mexico, Italy, Hungary, Ukraine, Columbia, France, Poland, Ireland, Argentina, Spain and Belarus.