Ex-bonded worker heads centre for freed bonded children

 21 May 2017 - 11:38

Ex-bonded worker heads centre for freed bonded children

IANS

New Delhi: A rehabilitation centre managed by Noble Laureate Kailash Satyarthi's NGO for children rescued from slavery is run, believe it or not, by a former bonded labourer.

"The head teacher of our Bal Ashram was once a bonded labourer," Satyarthi told a group of IANS journalists. "His name is Ram Kirpal."

He added: "The treasurer of our organisation, who also looks after my financial issues, was also a bonded labourer. His name is Lakshman Singh, popularly known as Lakshman Master."

Satyarthi was explaining the importance of rehabilitation of children freed from bonded labour to provide them a new life.

Among the children housed in the Bal Ashram, "some are going to be software engineers this year. Two of them will be lawyers soon as they are in the final year of their studies".

He said centrally-funded schemes for rehabilitation of freed bonded child workers were started in 1980.

Initially, the government gave Rs 4,000 to each child. This amount went up to Rs 6,000 and then to Rs 20,000.

Now the amount has gone up to Rs 3 lakh after central ministers realised that the earlier amount was too meagre for long-term rehabilitation.

Satyarthi said his Bachpan Bachao Andolan runs three rehabilitation centres for children freed from slavery -- one for girls and two for boys.

He spoke to IANS hours after he and his team rescued nine children from forced labour in an illegal factory in Old Delhi.

When the dingy place was raided, the children were producing exportable gift items. The factory has been sealed but the owner escaped.