A children’s council in India arranged 50 bicycles for girls. Up to now these girls used to walk an hour to school every day. The use of bicycles will make commuting safer and faster. Therefore the chance that these children continue their education increases. Once dropped out children are vulnerable to exploitation. A lot of children in this region are exploited in the mica mines or get married off at a young age. The children’s council is an initiative of Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF), a parterorganisation of TDH in India.
Mica is used in many products as paint, makeup and electronics. However it is being mined also by children who are supposed to be in school, safe and healthy.
As a consequence of the long walking distance, girls cannot pass through the forest before dark. Walking just takes too much time. This increases the risk of girls dropping out of school. Once dropped out of school, girls in India are more likely to get married off.
This kind of gender discrimination is prevented by the distribution of the bicycles. The girls will pass through the forest during day time and will even have time to study and play. They are more interested in education and the possession of a bicycle boosts their confidence. This contributes to the prevention of child marriage.
KSCF raises awareness among children about their rights and trains them how to get organised in a children’s council and fight for child rights. The lobby work of the children’s council did not go unnoticed. The District Chief Administrator praised the children for showing leadership to work against gender discrimination.
Apart from the distribution of the bicycles a new children’s council was appointed. They immediately seized the opportunity to ask the District Chief to provide the schools with professional teachers and good quality school facilities like toilets.
The young girl Araya Kajal had a special role in the ceremony. She welcomed all the girls who were provided with a bicycle. Araya used to work in the mica mines in Asrak, a small village. The work in the mica mines is dangerous and unhealthy and it prevents children from going to school. Luckily Araya was saved by KSCF.
Terre des Hommes fights against child labour in Asia. One of our biggest programmes is the mica programme in India. The aim is to withdraw children from the mica mines and enroll them into schools. One strategy is to raise awareness about child rights among children and learn them how to fight for child rights, however TDH also engages with the private sector, government and communities to foster sustainable change.