As a young man, Kailash began risking his own life to free children being held as slaves at brickworks and factories. He founded Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA, Save Childhood Movement) and began building homes for liberated slave children. At that time, over 30 years ago, hardly anyone else in India was speaking up for these children’s rights. Kailash received death threats and was attacked, and two of his colleagues were killed, but he didn’t give up.
Kailash and BBA have freed over 80,000 children, and his ‘Global March Against Child Labour’ campaign has grown into a movement involving millions of people. His work has contributed to new laws and regulations being passed to protect children’s rights all over the world. Kailash’s label for child labour-free rugs, GoodWeave, has reduced the number of children in the carpet industry from one million to 250,000, and thousands of poor villages have received his help to become ‘child friendly’.
How Kailash combats slavery and child labour
• Kailash and his organisation, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), or ‘Save Childhood’, work to protect children and their right to education. One hundred employees, from social workers and youth workers to teachers and researchers, all work together, along with a network of over 80,000 volunteers in India and throughout the world. They also lobby politicians and fight for fairer laws. Since 1980, over 83,000 children have been set free and supported to build better lives.
• Two homes, Mukti Ashram in Delhi and Bal Ashram in Rajasthan, provide shelter for liberated children, giving them support, love and education.• Thousands of poor Indian villages have pledged to become ‘child friendly’, meaning that no children have to work and all children can go to school.
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