When Hand in Hand started its work in 2002, Kancheepuram’s handloom industry employed many child labourers in the weaving units. Often, children worked at home along with their parents in such cottage industries or many were working as bonded labourers. Hand in Hand took up the challenging task of weaning away the children from the factories and looms by redeeming the debts of the parents.
Hand in Hand has enabled many children from very poor families to go to school today A large number of factors - other than just poverty - play a critical role when parents choose between sending their children to school instead of forcing them to work. Hand in Hand’s child labour elimination strategy has evolved as to not only bring children back to school, but also to prevent school drop-outs.
Hand in Hand’s child labour elimination strategy is woven around four inter-linked themes: awareness creation and community empowerment, rehabilitation and mainstreaming of child labourers and out-of-school children, school strengthening and preventing dropouts, poverty alleviation through income generation programmes. It strongly believes that a sustainable model cannot be created without working with the government, Panchayat Raj institutions. Thus, wanting to complement government efforts, Hand in Hand forged partnerships at all levels of the government system.
Action plan envisages identification/survey, rescue, rehabilitation and mainstreaming of Child Labour. Important components of the Action Plan include Awareness Generation, education, enforcement of Child Labour Laws and convergence of various welfare/anti poverty schemes. Community empowerment through social mobilization remains the central core to the process of child labour elimination. Hand in Hand works towards creating child friendly Panchayats where every child is in school and community actively participates in protecting child’s right to development. Panchayat Raj – Local governing body for cluster of hamlets.
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