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 Weaving dreams: Child Labour Free Zones

The International Labour Organisation estimates that nearly 152 million children across the world are engaged in some form of labour. Seventy percent of them work in agriculture, where they work alongside their parents to make a living.

The topic of the World Day Against Child Labour 2019 (12 June) is: “Children shouldn’t work in fields, but on dreams.”

“Fast fashion” puts children in sweatshops

However, in India, many child labourers work in the textile industry to satisfy the demands of the fast fashion industry. Consumers in Europe and the US love inexpensive, fashionable clothes that can be bought for a cheap price, then worn and washed a few times, then thrown away.

The only way to keep prices down is by cheap labour. A pair of jeans can be made in India for 80 euro-cents, which includes wages and safety measures for workers. A lot of women work in unhealthy conditions with few rights and low pay.

Child labour is also common and India is home to one of the highest concentrations of child workers in the world.

Toxic textile factories

Panipat district, in the north Indian state of Haryana, is the largest textile recycling hub in Asia.  It is famous as the cast-off (recycling) capital of the world and its population consists mainly of marginalised migrant families with few opportunities who work in the textile recycling factories at very low wages.

The textile factories are hazardous places where the workers are exposed to various harmful toxins that can lead to serious health issues. Apart from the apparent health risks, the children also miss out on basic schooling as they are forced tag along with their parents to work in these factories and contribute to the family income.

Creating a child labour free zone

Humana People to People India have worked on creating a child labour free zone in Panipat since 2015.  Working to unite district authorities, parents, local school and factory owners in a concerted effort to give the children the opportunity to go to school – their best bet in beating the poverty trap.

The project also spreads awareness about labour rights amongst the textile workers and operate bridge-learning centres or Sambhavana schools. Apart from providing a safe and healthy environment for the children, the schools also aim to bring the children back on the right track and to catch up on lost school work.

Activity-based pedagogy at the schools promotes accelerated learning among the children, who are often far behind with their education since they have skipped school for longer periods of time.

The project’s end goal is to build up the children’s academic and social competencies so they can return to a local formal school, once they have caught up sufficiently.

Weaving a dream

In one year, the “child labour free zone” project has helped to transform the lives of over 3.000 out-of-school children. They have been pulled out of the toxic factory environments and given with the opportunity to learn and educate themselves, hopefully with a brighter future ahead.

Two-thirds of the children who participated in the first year have been mainstreamed into formal schools, enabling them to weave a future of their own desire.

Day-care centres are providing a safe learning environment to over 1,600 younger children who previously had to accompany their parents to the factories because they had no-one to look after them at home.

Instead of being exposed to unsafe and toxic surroundings in the factories, these children are now learning new skills and do activities like sports, art and craft and outings.

Creating “child labour free zones” that can act as models for other European garments and textile supply chains is one good way of showing the way forward. In this way, Humana People to People India can contribute to securing a level playing field for marginalised children and give them a chance to dream of a better life.

Watch the video about the Child Labour Free Zone run by HPP India in Panipat:

A structured gap year can be just what you need.

10 months structured volunteer experience

3 months:
Preparation – training, practical skills, teamwork, setting goals

6 months:
Project work – in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique or India

1 month:
Conclusion and information activities – reflection, bringing the good message out

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Creating Child Labour Free Zones

A structured gap year can be just what you need.

The International Labour Organisation estimates that nearly 152 million children across the world are engaged in some form of labour. Seventy percent of them work in agriculture, where they work alongside their parents to make a living.

 

Therefore, the topic of this year’s theme for the World Day Against Child Labour is: “Children shouldn’t work in fields, but on dreams.”

“Fast fashion” puts children in sweatshops

However, in India, many child labourers work in the textile industry to satisfy the demands of the fast fashion industry. Consumers in Europe and the US love inexpensive, fashionable clothes that can be bought for a cheap price, then worn and washed a few times, then thrown away.

The only way to keep prices down is by cheap labour. A pair of jeans can be made in India for 80 euro-cents, which includes wages and safety measures for workers. A lot of women work in unhealthy conditions with few rights and low pay.

Child labour is also common and India is home to one of the highest concentrations of child workers in the world.

A structured gap year can be just what you need.

Toxic textile factories

Panipat district, in the north Indian state of Haryana, is the largest textile recycling hub in Asia.  It is famous as the cast-off (recycling) capital of the world and its population consists mainly of marginalised migrant families with few opportunities who work in the textile recycling factories at very low wages.

The textile factories are hazardous places where the workers are exposed to various harmful toxins that can lead to serious health issues. Apart from the apparent health risks, the children also miss out on basic schooling as they are forced tag along with their parents to work in these factories and contribute to the family income.

A structured gap year can be just what you need.

Creating child labour free zones

Humana People to People India have worked on creating a child labour free zone in Panipat since 2015.  Working to unite district authorities, parents, local school and factory owners in a concerted effort to give the children the opportunity to go to school – their best bet in beating the poverty trap.

The project also spreads awareness about labour rights amongst the textile workers and operate bridge-learning centres or Sambhavana schools. Apart from providing a safe and healthy environment for the children, the schools also aim to bring the children back on the right track and to catch up on lost school work.

A structured gap year spent teaching English is a wonderful experience.

Teaching out of school children

As a volunteer with Humana People to People in India, you can join school projects which aim to bring out of school children back to school.

Activity-based pedagogy at the schools promotes accelerated learning among the children, who are often far behind with their education since they have skipped school for longer periods of time.

The project’s end goal is to build up the children’s academic and social competencies so they can return to a local formal school, once they have caught up sufficiently.

Children have been pulled out of the toxic factory environments and given with the opportunity to learn and educate themselves, hopefully with a brighter future ahead.

Weaving a dream

In one year, the “child labour free zone” project has helped to transform the lives of over 3.000 out-of-school children. They have been pulled out of the toxic factory environments and given with the opportunity to learn and educate themselves, hopefully with a brighter future ahead.

Two-thirds of the children who participated in the first year have been mainstreamed into formal schools, enabling them to weave a future of their own desire.

A structured gap year as a volunteer can start of your humanitarian career.

"Weaving a dream"

As a volunteer with Humana People to People India, you can work together with teachers and local volunteers to improve conditions for out-of-school children.

Day-care centres are providing a safe learning environment to over 1,600 younger children who previously had to accompany their parents to the factories because they had no-one to look after them at home.

Instead of being exposed to unsafe and toxic surroundings in the factories, these children are now learning new skills and do activities like sports, art and craft and outings.

Creating “child labour free zones” that can act as models for other European garments and textile supply chains is one good way of showing the way forward. In this way, Humana People to People India can contribute to securing a level playing field for marginalised children and give them a chance to dream of a better life.

10 months structured volunteer experience

3 months:
Preparation – training, practical skills, teamwork, setting goals

6 months:
Project work – in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique or India

1 month:
Conclusion and information activities – reflection, bringing the good message out

What does it take to become a Take 10 Volunteer?

In order to enrol in the 10 month International Development Volunteer programme, you need to meet the following requirements:

    • You are 18 years old or older.
    • You are ready to leave your home for 10 months to volunteer in a community environment 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
    • You have decided not to drink alcohol or take drugs for the entirety of the program.
    • You are eager to experience a multidisciplinary and collective training programme, which includes theoretical and practical activities.
    • You are ready to immerse yourself in a multicultural and diverse community.
    • You are ready to volunteer where you are most needed.
    • You look forward to engaging with the Humana People to People projects in a spirit of cooperation, mutual learning and respect.
    • You are committed to learn about people, cultures, values and traditions, and to share your knowledge and stories with the public after your travels.