Walking through the CLFZ project in Patiyal Hamlet of Budhpura , there is a good chance that you will come across a local boy called Shankar. You will not only see him in real life, but also on the posters and leaflets throughout the village. As the first child to attend school in his neighbourhood 11 year old Shankar has become the brand ambassador for the CLFZ project. Many others have since been motivated and inspired to follow his lead. Even though he is only 11 years old, Shankar already has a clear goal in life. He wants to become a teacher!
On the 27th of May, Manjari, with support of the State Forum on Natural Stone, Government of Rajasthan, Labour Department and Medical Department, has organised a mass health camp to raise awareness on silicosis among workers in the sandstone industry and screen workers on the occupational disease. Silicosis is an incurable occupational lung disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust. Out of the 82 workers that were screened 7 silicosis and 10 tuberculosis patients were detected. Furthermore, more than 500 sandstone workers were registered under the Construction Workers Welfare Scheme. Under this scheme worker are entitled to nine social security benefits, including compensation when affected by an occupational disease.
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.
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.
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’.