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Summer Bust

Summer holidays are over here in our part of India. Families have returned from their villages visiting grandma and grandpa, and kids are back in school. Well, not exactly all the kids.

Just read in our local paper about another child labor bust. This time it involved over 50 children working day and night in windowless rooms, making bangles for $25 a month. These children are not from our city but from other parts of the country. They send their meager wages to their relatives in the village far away. Now that they have been freed, they will be put on trains headed back to their villages.

When they arrive, will their families rejoice? Or break down in despair because of the lost income?

Simply put, nothing is as it seems in India. Every issue is far more complicated than it appears.

Indian law states that all children are required to attend school from the age of 6 – 14. Of course all children should attend school. But if children are starving, how can they focus on studies or even have the strength to walk to school?

A few years ago, our state started a mid-day meal scheme to coerce more children to attend school. For thousands of children, this is the only wholesome meal they get each day. This is a step in the right direction. But what about their malnourished relatives back home?

We believe job creation is the answer to poverty. We believe education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty. Getting our artisans’ kids into schools where they have a mid-day meal, bathrooms, and good teachers. Giving dignified work to their mothers and fathers, so they can buy more nutritious food and medicines for their children.

Did you ever think that buying a piece of jewelry or handmade scarf could make such a difference?

Photo Credit: EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection via Compfight cc

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