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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Child Labour and You - The Other 'She'




The carton was bursting and overflowing,
It was the annual sale you see,
With toys and books and clothes and stuff
And everything her eager eyes could see.

I gave her a hug, she gave me a smile,
I knew she was ready to go,
She wanted to be home and open the box
‘Whats in there mamma?’ she wanted to know.

I’d given her the frock the other day,
The one that was in her cupboard for so long,
And also her old favourite toy car
The one that ran fine, nothing was wrong.

We reached, I pressed the calling bell,
She opened the door with a smile,
To let us in and into our room,
That was all shining and bright.

She tugged at my hand as I gave her the bags,
‘Lets go in sweetheart, shall we?’
We went in, the AC chilled us down
Cloth and bottle ready in place, she went back to the TV

Five o’clock its time for her milk
And my garma-garam cup of chai
Sitting by the window, she playing, I reading,
I ask her for a toast with my chai.

Tomorrow she goes to her new class,
Her new bags, books and uniform filling up the bed.
She wipes the floor, brings the sheet and cushion
Clearing up the kitchen for her bed.

My darling daughter, my princess,
“She looks so much like you”, they all said.
What? Who? The other girl? The same age as my daughter?
Oh, she is Laxmi, my eight-year-old maid."

Shocked? Sad? Angry? This is reality you know, the real face of India, the face that always critices and complains, but never really has the courage to actually go out there and bring about a change. We like to say we treat our maid well, that this little girl is lucky to work in my house coz I treat her better than the others and make her do less work...Shame...You could have sent her to a school? You could have called her home to study and then sent her back after giving her a glass of milk, couldnt you? And all those times you saw that little boy or girl working in a shop, or pushing that cart on the road, you could have gotten hold of the adult and given them a lesson, you could have complained about them? How many times have you done that?

WHERE TO COMPLAIN FOR CHILD LABOUR:

1. You can lodge a complaint at your nearest police station.
To get a link to all the police stations across India, you may log in to www.karmayog.org/policedepartments/

2. PRATHAM HELPINE FOR CHILD LABOUR
022-65134884 or EMAIL Kishore Bhamre on kishorbhamre1@rediffmail.com
This number is ONLY FOR MUMBAI AND MAHARASHTRA
Please visit www.pratham.org for more details.

3. HELPLINE TO COMPLAIN FOR CHILD LABOUR
1098 is the number to complain against child labour if you are in any of the following cities:
Agartala, Aurangabad, Chennai, Guwahati, Kanchipuram, Kozhikode, Nadia, Pune, South 24 Paraganas, Varanasi, Shimla, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Kanyakumari, Kutch, Nagapattinam, Puri, Thiruvananthapuram, Vijayawada, Ludhiana, Ahmednagar, Baroda, Cuddalore, Imphal, Karaikal, Lucknow, Nagpur, Rourkela, Thirunelveli, Vishakhapatnam, Akola, Bhopal, Delhi, Indore, Kochi, Mangalore, Nasik, Ranchi, Thrissur, Waynad, Allahabad, Bhubaneshwar, East Midanapore Jammu, Kolkata, Madurai, New Jalpaiguri, Salem, Tiruchirapalli, West Midnapore, Alwar, Chandigarh, Goa, Jaipur, Kollam, Mumbai, Patna, Shillong, Udaipur, Agra, Amarawati, Cuddalore, Gorakhpur, Kalyan, Kota, Murshidabad Port Blair, Sholapur, Ujjain and Gurgaon.

We all like to say that Child Labour is a crime and should not be allowed. So stop complaining now and ACT.

********************************************************************************
And like I always believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!!

- Debolina Raja Gupta

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