Friendship week urges vendors to give up child labour

Reprinted from The Times of India

Kalyani Sardesai, TNN, Nov 11, 2010, 04.48am IST
PUNE: Volunteers from the city’s Bal Sena, the childrens’ army backed by Dnyanadevi-Childline, and gammat shalas, the informal schools, are all set to celebrate Childline Maitri ( friendship week) with a sensitisation programme aimed at reaching out to food vendors and urge them not to employ child labour and to call Childline in case they spot a child in trouble.

Childline is a 24 x 7 toll free helpline for children in distress. An initiative of the Ministry for Woman and Child Development, Childline (1098) has a pan-India presence, and is partnered by local NGOs in various cities. All India Childline Maitri week is being celebrated in different cities between November 8 and 14 to coincide with the impending Childrens’ Day.

Anuradha Sahasrabuddhe, director, Dnyanadevi Childine said: “Food vendors are an important part of the Childline network as they work late and are able to provide crucial information about trafficked children. The objectives of the programme are three-fold: ” Firstly, we wish to request them not to employ child labour; secondly, we want to give them the Childline number in case they spot a child in a hapless situation; thirdly, the programme will also spread awareness among Bal Sena and gammat shala children and their friends on the hygiene of street food.”

Bal Sena is a children’s army backed by Childline and has a presence in various schools across the city. The motivation behind the formation of the children’s army is to strengthen and empower children to campaign for their own rights.

Similarly, the gammat shalas are informal schools set up in and around various slums in the city, for imparting a modicum of learning to children, who don’t go to regular schools, through playway methods.

Bal sena members from eight schools in the Tilak zone area and 3 gammat shalas in the Vishrantwadi area are slated to participate in the programme. They will reach out to food vendors in Sarasbaug, Swargate, Deccan Gymkhana, Sambhaji Park, Mandai area, Chowpatthy, Pune station, Vishrantwadi and Yerawada.

Read more: Friendship week urges vendors to give up child labour – The Times of India\