In a Shroud of Disgrace

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This picture was shot Monday the 31st of May 2010, around 1pm in Varanasi (Benaras), one of the hotest day of the year and at lunch time which is the hotest moment.
Among a few workers two children were removing rocks and sand from the street in order to carry all this into a well known hospital of the city, .
Those children were not much taller than the dunkies and poneys with them and they must not be more than 10 years old.
They kept on doing this work all day till 4:30.
Anyone could see what was going on in the street and inside the new wing of the building.
Any doctor, patient or visitor but also any officer coming to take their car from the police parking which is located in front of all that.
None of them reacted, nor didn’t all those car drivers who were shouting at the kids to go faster.
It seems that everyone accepted this situation or even worst, that nobody cares.

In the “biggest democracy in the world”, child labor is a crime like it is in any other country.
Whowever the exploitation of young children for labor is an accepted practice in Northern India.

I often try to explain that it is wrong and that our duty is to make sure that children are going to school.
But families who are ailing with poverty perceive their children as an income generating resource to supplement the family income and they also say that they can’t afford education.
Those who employ those kids say that it’s for the best because they could get worst from others and that if they refused to give them a job others will do it.
However the situation of child laborers in India is desperate.
Children work for eight hours at a stretch with only a small break for frugal meals and most of them are ill nourished.
They also cannot go home and sleep at their work place, which is very bad for their health and development.
Therefore Parents sacrifice their children’s education to the growing needs of their younger siblings in such families and view them as wage earners for the entire clan.

Child labor in India is a human right issue for the whole world and it is not possible to listen all that.
They are no deal nor concession to do with providers and users of child labor.

Personnally and through my company in India I am sending several children to school, providing them an education which might allow them to have a better future.
It seems to be a duty to do this and there is nothing special about it.
However it is a sin to see a child being exploited and not to react.
I am asking all my friends in India to think about this, most of us are mothers or fathers, all of us can easily remember our own childhood, we can’t accept this anymore.
Of course we can’t help the whole world but if each of us help one child we can do a lot.
Send children to school, this is where they belong only.

According to the statistics given by Indian government there are 20 million child laborers in the country, while other agencies claim that it is 50 million.

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