Presentation on theme: "Child Labour Campaign CRY-Kolkata Volunteer Campaign update."— Presentation transcript:
Child Labour Campaign CRY-Kolkata Volunteer Campaign update
Initiation… A group of volunteers visited an area in the northern fringes of the city (Kamarhati). Appalled by the extent of child labour in the area they were determined to bring about positive change The group realized that to bring about sustainable change, sensitization of people at large and policy makers is essential They made a film ‘Siraaj’ depicting the condition of child labourers and the violation of human rights. Resources for the film were raised by volunteers
Campaigning begins… The volunteers organized film screenings along with debates and discussions on the effectiveness of the existing legislative and administrative measures to abolish child labour. Venues and forums (screening and discussion): Seagull Art and Media Resource Centre, Rotary Club, TTIS, UN Conference in Brussels, University of Ghent, University of Calcutta, Vishwabharati University, Vidyasagar University, Kalyani University and Oxford Bookstore Television and Film Festival Screenings: Siraaj was telecast on TARA News, SPACE Bangla, Kolkata TV. To be screened at the Kolkata Short Film Festival at NANDAN on the 28 th of Nov.
Core issues of the Campaign Phase I: Demands made to the state by volunteers 1.Complete abolition and not regulation of Child Labour 2. Employing children in non hazardous work should also be deemed as a criminal offence 3. Mere rescue is not enough children rescued need to be rehabilitated.
A review of the demands revealed certain gaps. They did not focus on the socio economic factors that forced children to work. The SECOND PHASE of the campaign began as a reaction to the Labour Ministry’s Notification regarding banning child labour from the domestic and hospitality sector. Core issues of the Campaign
Core Issues (Phase II) Demand from the State: 1.Rehabilitation of children to be thrown out of work 2.Other legal lacunae in the current ACT 3.Proper measures to address those causes that compel families to send their children to work
Campaign Strategies… Meeting Ministers and Bureaucrats. Minister Gautam Deb gave a hearing to the demands of the volunteers on the 13 th of Nov. 2006 Chairperson of State Human Rights Commission Justice Shyamal Sen met the volunteers on the 14 th of Nov. and heard their demands. (covered by regional newspaper AAJKAL, prime moved by volunteers)
Reaching out and mobilizing volunteers Volunteers addressed more than 400 students and teachers from Calcutta University, Vishwabharati University, Vidyasagar University, Kalyani University and the National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS). 200 school students addressed by volunteers and kites prepared by school students as a symbol of solidarity. The Human Rights Centre of Calcutta University, NUJS and INCA of IIM Kolkata have officially supported the campaign
Phase III… Began with the incident on the 22 nd in Topshia (Kolkata) where a fire broke out in an illegal factory that claimed the lives of adult and child labourers. The media focused on the sweatshops and the children employed in the same. CRY volunteers reacted within a short time (within 36 hours) by drafting and sending a letter of protest with demands to the Chief Minister, Mayor and other Ministers. (attached) Posters prepared and displayed by volunteers within 48 hours from the time the fire broke out. (attached)
Protest…and demands… Open letter of protest to Chief Minister sent to media (AAJKAL and Times of India coverage facilitated by volunteer group) Tuesday and Wednesday the 28 th and 29 th of Nov. commemorated by students in colleges and institutes as a day of protest. Presidency college, IIM Kolkata, Scottish Church college, Vidyasagar School of Social Work and Army Institute of Management and the like protested against state inaction by sporting a black arm band. (Pre event coverage in Times of India and AAJKAL) Series of seminars on ‘Child Labour in the Unorganized Sector, Who’s Accountable?’ to be organized and facilitated by volunteers lined up in the week beginning the 3 rd of December in IIM Kolkata, NUJS (5 th Dec.) and Vidyasagar School of Social Work.
Volunteer Core Group…its role A core group of volunteers comprising Oishika, Harsh, Soumi, Amit, Oishik, Praveen, Abhishek, Sanjeev, Sahana, Karubakee, Priyanka, Paulomi (Kolkata); Pinaki and Sreemoyee (Bangalore); Purnima and Sobins (Mumbai) steered the course of the campaign. From conceptualizing to providing content and designing to media advocacy was done by volunteers. They ensured media coverage of the campaign activities.
Volunteers thrilled… When the State Human Rights Chairperson Justice Shyamal Sen (whom the volunteers approached for an appointment) gave the group a patient hearing and expressed interest and eagerness to attend volunteer programmes.
Volunteers thrilled… As they are experiencing a shift in their role, from assisting with logistics support for CRY programmes to being panelists, moderators (Child Rights spokespersons) on issue based discussion and independent desinging, planning and implementation of programmes (CRY-Oxford Programme and Children’s Day programme in City Centre)
Highlights 28 th Nov. : Volunteer film on Child Labour, SIRAAJ screened in Kolkata Short Film Festival at Nandan Meetings of volunteers with Editor of Aajkal (Bengali Daily), Times of India (Correspondent) Seminar series in IIM Kolkata and NUJS on ‘Unorganized Sector, Rights of Workers and child Labour’
The RTI Phase Responding to the apathetic attitude of the state, the volunteers decided to file a Right to Information (RTI) petition. RTI filed in three departments (Labour, Home and Industries and Commerce) As a follow up measure CRY volunteers visited the PIOs’ of the respective departments Receiving no response within 48 hours the volunteers filed an appeal with the Secretary of the West Bengal Information Commission.
The RTI Phase Meanwhile response has been received from the State Police and Commerce and Industries Department. However the answers are far from being satisfactory. In the whole process the volunteers ended up familiarizing themselves with the various state mechanisms and the bureaucracy. Certainly helped volunteers to boost their confidence.
Key Learning Transformation in the attitude of the volunteers Initially the volunteers were apprehensive to visit the govt. dept. and speak to the Bureaucrats. But with regular interaction that was required to push the letters from one desk to the other the volunteers gained confidence. The volunteers being from the middle class typically reflected And apathy (combined with fear) towards engaging with the state. The RTI process has offered an opportunity for the volunteers to initiate a process (however nascent) of engaging with the state.