South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude (SACCS)

Linked with our presentation of Kailash Satyarthi – India

Also linked with our presentation of 6th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates

South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude (SACCS), works to end forced child labor in South Asia.

Kailash Satyarthi, After successfully freeing and rehabilitating thousands of children, went on to build up a global movement against child labor. Today Kailash heads up the Global March Against Child Labor, a conglomeration of 2000 social-purpose organizations and trade unions in 140 countries.

What Does SACCS Do? Since its inception in 1989, SACCS and its partners have liberated nearly 40,000 bonded laborers, many of them bonded, working in various industries, including rug manufacturing. But to free such children without offering new opportunities would, in Kailash’s view, be meaningless.

Bal Ashram in Rajasthan, India is a transition center where newly-freed slaves are taught basic skills. Kailash describes the arrival of a girl recently freed from a stone quarry: “It’s a joyous experience to watch the changing emotions flit across this beautiful girl’s face. She’s like an open book, and her varying expressions tell us a story: the story of transition from slavery to a new life of freedom. When her face lights up, it is clear she is taking her first steps toward freedom and belief in others.”

Since the Ashram can only serve 100 children at a time, Kailash has begun a program called “Bal Mitra Gram” to encourage Indian villages to abolish child labor. In order to be a part of the program, an entire community must agree that no child will be put to work and every child will be sent to school.

While changing India village by village is a worthwhile pursuit, such a strategy could take centuries to achieve Kailash’s goal, and he is not prepared to wait that long. So he has begun attacking the problem by harnessing the immense power of market forces.

Many rugs from South Asia are manufactured using child labor. Kailash believes that if consumers around the world knew how their expensive and colorful Indian rugs were made, they would no longer think they were so beautiful. He started “Rugmark,” a program in which rugs are labeled and certified to be child-labor-free by factories who that agree to be regularly inspected. Kailash plans to extend the labeling program to other products such as soccer balls, another popular product that is commonly made by children. (Read more on The new Heroes).

reported during an Interview given by Kailash Satyarthi to Speak Truth to Power.

The South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude (SACCS) works together with Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), whitch today also symbolizes the movement against child servitude. As an initiator of rescuing slave children (direct action) from the remotest villages in India on one hand and the organiser/leader of Global March Against Child Labour on the other, BBA has a legacy of 25 years of crusade.

Their vision: To create a child labour free society, where all the children receive quality education.

Founded as a group of few individuals, BBA has emerged as an organization of thousands of individual supporters under the banner of ‘Bachpan Bachao Andolan’ as well as network of over 750 NGOs, Trade Unions, Human Rights Organisation etc. dedicated towards the total elimination of child labour and quality education for all in India. It works to end forced child labor in South Asia. (Read more on what’s new on BBA).

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