Run for their freedom

Anukriti Sharma
Thursday, 8 June 2017

Child labour, a worldwide concern, has been stealing away innocent childhood from many for years. Even with all the talks about how we must do something to ban the practice, we are all subtly playing a part in its existence — employing children in our households, buying things from chai shops that employ children and so on. In order to raise awareness regarding child labour, Hope for the Children Foundation has organised a marathon to help these kids in need.

Hope for the Children Foundation has organised a marathon in the city to raise awareness about child labour, and encourage people to help these children have a better life

Child labour, a worldwide concern, has been stealing away innocent childhood from many for years. Even with all the talks about how we must do something to ban the practice, we are all subtly playing a part in its existence — employing children in our households, buying things from chai shops that employ children and so on. In order to raise awareness regarding child labour, Hope for the Children Foundation has organised a marathon to help these kids in need.

Since 2011, the Foundation has been working for the cause by spreading awareness regarding ‘Child labour Issues’. This year, they look forward to engaging more people in their drive. A programme called Shiksha Ki Asha too was started in 2012, and has been conceptualised by a team of social workers and teachers to come up with a strong syllabus that understands and responds to the needs of children from the deprived and vulnerable classes. Their teaching manual is well defined and has mixed components of academic and personality development with five after-school programmes in Pune’s Wadgaon Sheri, Hadapsar and
Talegaon.

Founder and CEO of Hope for the Children Foundation, Caroline Audoir de Valter says, “Underprivileged children face a lot of issues like abuse etc. To provide them education and give them a chance at a normal life, we have designed a number of programmes. We have with us around 2,500 to 3,000 children whom we are assisting in their capacity building. Although the child labour situation in India has improved, it’s far from being eradicated. That’s because they serve as cheap labour. We need to work as a collective mind and have the will to say, ‘I don’t want to employ children and rather want to give them a better chance at life’.”
Valter plans to raise awareness through the marathon by engaging as many people as possible and send out a big message in a fun way. So far more then 1,000 people have registered for the 21 km, 14 km and 7 km runs and for the ‘Freedom Walk’ of 3 km. The event will be held at Mulik Palace near Classic Rock in Kalyani Nagar, Pune followed by the prize distribution by Guinness World Record holder and ultra marathoner Michelle Kakade.

Ashutosh Joshi of the Little Next Door supports the cause because he believes that “if you can help them at that age, they can go ahead to have a brighter future”. He adds, “There is still a huge amount of work to be done but we can give them the tools. A 10-year-old working in a chai shop has much more to see in life and if we all come forward collectively, we can help him achieve that. This marathon is to inspire people to help. We will also talk about how the helplines work and anyone can come forward and report if they notice child labour anywhere. It is in our hands to get them out so they can have a brighter future.”

ST READER SERVICE
Be a part of the noble cause ‘Run for their Freedom Marathon — I Say NO to Child Labour’ on June 11 in Kalyani Nagar, Pune at 6 am

 

Follow the writer on Twitter @sh_anukriti

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