Terre des Hommes and its partners in India firmly believe that children are agents of change. As owners of their destiny, they must be heard so initiatives as the Children Groups are trained through one year long facilitation to ensure they know their rights and feel empowered to claim their rights in front of Senior Government Officials and members of the Parliament.
The goal is to get access to children to present their issues about Child Labour and to ask for measures to tackle child exploitation.
Children are well organized through groups in every village of the ‘Mica Belt’, one of the most prevalent Child Labour sites in Asia, where children as young as five years old work extracting minerals from the mines.
These same children are oriented on their rights by Terre des Hommes partner’s local experts and forums are conducted to reflect about the best way to create legal provisions to protect them.
These initiatives empower children and, behind a simple awareness raising activity, through a one year program, children are able to identify what are the issues related to Health, Education, Environment, Culture and Protection to address in their villages. Along with essential values like solidarity and collaboration, children develop confidence and strength to become children’s rights activists in front of the Government.
A new generation of children exiting from child labour is demanding the need for regular school attendance, the right to go to school and to practice sports, the need for extra academic competencies to increase their chances in life and the threats of child marriage in their villages.
A gradual movement of change agents is changing the old generation beliefs and ideas. From parents, to village elders to policy makers, child participation has a positive impact in the life of communities.
One thousand children are enrolled in this project. Now, they have a quarterly meeting with members of the Parliament so their claims are heard and they can track the following of their issues.
Children are one of the very important stakeholders on issues related to child protection.
The role of children in stopping child marriage, child labour and any form of child exploitation is crucial to the success of Terre des Hommes projects in India.
If you want children to be protected, you must hear what children have to say.