Reintegration of child workers

Uttar Pradesh / India

Children belong in school, not at work! This comprehensive project helps children go back to school, assists mothers in earning decent wages, and supports improved social conditions for villages.

Uttar Pradesh is India's most populated state. It is both a tourist destination and an extremely poor region. In the Ghazipur district near the Nepal border, nearly 80% of the population lives in very precarious conditions and belongs to the lower castes. There are not enough public schools, and the sanitation system is underdeveloped. Most people work as laborers in the fields, but work is only possible 60 days per year! Often without income, they must take loans to survive. Debt drives them to put their children to work.

The action of Terre des Hommes Switzerland

Yuva Vikas Sansthan (Yvs) , the local partner of Terre des Hommes Switzerland, intervenes in the following areas:

Educating children who are "freed" from labor, and teenage girls
Since 2005, Yvs has had three school centers for children aged 6 to 12 who are "freed" from labor. About 1000 students attend these schools five days a week. Each pupil receives a daily meal and medical attention when needed. Remedial education services are also offered.

These school centers also offer classes for teenage girls in secondary education; due to their lower status in Indian society, many young girls have a significant academic unpreparedness.

Raising awareness of education and children's rights
To raise awareness of children's issues in communities, Yvs regularly organizes Youth Forums in villages.
These forums are a good opportunity to learn more about children's rights. Yvs also carries out important lobbying work at the regional level; the organization plans round tables, and invites all of the players involved in the promotion of human rights and sustainable development. Yvs also supports village committees responsible for monitoring industries that employ children. These committees lobby local authorities to enforce child labor laws and increase the capacity of public schools.

Enabling women and their families to reach financial autonomy
Yvs fights for women's rights and helps them organize themselves into Self-Help Groups. The organization offers legal assistance to women who are victims of violence. The organization also gives them the means to reach financial autonomy by organizing agricultural training days. Several modules are offered on a variety of possible income sources including goat breeding, furniture construction, etc. Finally, through access to microcredit, Yvs enables women to acquire a plot of land.

Children are starting to find their way back to school.