Budhpura Cobble Traders Union: From advocating existence of child labour to becoming a protector of child rights


This is the story of Budhpura, a small village in Taleda Block in the Bundi District of Rajasthan. The main industry in this area is stone quarrying and the production of Sandstone setts.  It’s estimated that 85% of the population in this area work in or rely on the natural stone industry for their livelihoods.

There are many yards in and around Budhpura involved in the production, grading and sorting of Sandstone setts, 25 of the largest yards came together to form the cobble traders union.

Before Manjari started to work in the area, the majority of children in Budhpura and the surrounding villages were out of school and working in the cobble yards.  The sole objective of the Child Labour Free Zones Project is that all children have the right to an education and to enjoy childhood. Children were visibly working in the cobble yards around Budhpura, so engaging with the owners of the cobble yards became the prime focus for the Manjari project team.

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The Unsung Heroes Behind Child Labour Free Zones

Manjari's Education volunteers

Hello, I’m Steven Walley, managing director of London Stone.  I recently returned from a trip to Budhpura where I met some of the driving forces behind the project we are supporting to create child labour free zones in Budhpura.

The project to create child labour free zones in Budhpura enjoys wide ranging support from a range of different stakeholders.  Western corporate companies like Stoneasy and London Stone, Western NGO’s, Stop Child Labour and ICN, and local NGO’s in India like Manjari and ARAVALI.  Without these multi stakeholder groups it would simply not be possible to deliver lasting change in Budhpura.  These organisation provide expertise, leverage, funds and motivation that are not always available locally.  These external groups though only tell one side of the story.  What about all the people who live within the project area, who are a part of the local community and whom this project is having a positive effect on?  To these people, Child Labour Free Zones (CLFZ)  is far more than just an ethical project, it’s their lives.

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The NGO playing a central role in eradicating Child Labour in Budhpura

The Manjari team

Hello, My name is Steven Walley, I’m the Managing Director of London Stone, a UK based natural stone importer and supplier.

No Child Left Behind is a 6 part blog series, written to educate and inform the industry about the root causes of child labour in the Indian Sandstone industry.  The blog also aims to raise awareness of the amazing community led initiatives that are slowly succeeding in eradicating child labour in Budhpura and the surrounding villages and hamlets, where the majority of Sandstone Setts, destined for UK and European markets, are produced.

Last month you heard from Bram Callewier, Director of Belgium based stone importer, Stoneasy.  Bram’s informative blog talked about the historical context of how western companies got involved in the Indian Sandstone industry and how little our understanding was of ethical issues in those “early days”.  You’re now reading part 2 of the 6 part series.  I’m going to be talking about Manjari.  Manjari are the Budhpura based NGO playing a pivotal role in establishing child labour free zones in Budhpura and the surrounding villages & hamlets.  But first, before we go any further we need to understand the complexity of the root causes of child labour.

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Local library motivates children in Budhpura to enrol into formal schools

There are many drivers that force children into work and it is not just about earning money for the family.  A big issue in Budhpura is the quality of the education, or lack of it. Classrooms are overcrowded, teachers are poorly trained and teaching and learning materials are absent. This not exactly the best incentive for parents to send their children to school.  The kids are better of working, this is the mentality of some parents.

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Building capacity of local Education Volunteers and Community Facilitators

From 25 to 30 January 2016, 9 Education Volunteers, who are supporting the school teachers in Budhpura, and 2 Community Facilitators, who motivate parents in Budhpura to send their children to school, attended a training on interactive and child-friendly teaching and learning methods. They observed the teaching and learning activities at a Residential Learning Camp for out of school children and participated in training sessions on activity based learning, child friendly behavior of teachers and using local materials in the learning process. The training was facilitated by Seva Mandir, a NGO, based in Udaipur, with long-term experience and knowledge in education. This capacity building event will help in creating a more child friendly education environment in the project area where Manjari is working towards ‘child labour free zones’.

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