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Campaign against child trafficking, labour begins in Jharkhand's mica mining area

By Our Representative 

Kailash Satyarthi’s Children’s Foundation (KSCF), an initiative of Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, has launched a week-long Mass Awareness Rathyatra against child trafficking, child labour and promotion of quality education for children in the mica mining region of Jharkhand.
The Rathyatra will cover over 100 villages in the region and has been jointly organized with Railway Protection Force (RPF), District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) and district police authorities.
Designed for a week-long campaign, the Mass Awareness Rath (chariot) was flagged off by the Koderma district deputy development commissioner Lokesh Mishra, in the presence of JawaharLal, Shimpi Kumari and Ankur Kumar, inspectors in RPF, representatives of Bal Panchayats and police officials. Children of the Vivekanand Academy, Koderma, held a street play to create awareness against child labour during the flagging off event.
The Rath was led by Bal Panchayat members, who were selected from among the Bal Mitra Gram (BMG) around the mica mining region. Around 400 people participated in the flagging off event of the week-long Mass Awareness Rathyatra.
The Rath is scheduled to travel around Koderma for four days and will then cover Giridih for the remaining three days. Pamphlets raising awareness against child labour and child marriage will be distributed, jan-choupals, street plays and public meetings will be organised during the week-long campaign.
Lokesh Mishra said, “From a very long time our district has been a victim of various forms of child exploitation, especially child marriage and child trafficking. However, the initiatives of KSCF & BBA in the direction of awareness generation and leadership building among the children is commendable.”
He added, “This Yatra will be a milestone and I believe that this will gain a very positive response from the masses… We need to work collectively to eliminate all the anti social elements in the society. The district administration extends its support & assistance. I also hope that the awareness generation Yatra will continue even after seven days”.
Bal Panchayat member Sarita Kumari and anti-child marriage brand ambassador Radha Pandey said, “Our aim is to spread awareness against child labour, child marriage and trafficking amongst the public. Rural people are not aware that child marriage also leads to trafficking”.
Jawaharlal said, “We are together in this. Only with collective efforts of administration, police and social organisations can we end the menace of child trafficking and child labour. Earlier RPF was limited to its jurisdiction under the railways, but after joining hands with KSCF, it is happy to extend its jurisdiction, reaching the remotest villages of the state generating mass awareness. This Yatra will only be successful when every citizen joins in”.
Several BMG officials, including Manoj Kumar, Amit Kumar, Chandan, Mintu among other Bal Panchayat members and representatives were present during the event. Also BMG district co-ordinator Surendra Pandit and manager Subir Roy and state co-ordinator of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), Shyam Kumar, were present.
BMG is a novel concept conceived by KSCF, in which children don the leadership role to spread awareness amongst the rural population about child labour and to promote quality education for children.
Gobind Khanal, programme manager of BMG, said, “This Rath is intended to travel around Koderma and Giridih for a week covering villages, panchayats, block headquarters, schools and markets. Pamphlets would be distributed at all these places, street plays, night choupals and songs will be organized to spread awareness in these areas”.

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