Impact Stories

“My job was to segregate the second-hand clothes coming to the factory according to their colours,” says Nitu as nonchalantly as if she was talking about a daily chore.

“No matter how diligently I worked, the owner of the factory would constantly scold me. And at the end of the month, I received Rs. 500,” she continues with equal ease.

Nitu’s ease of expression belies her tender age. The 11-year-old is a resident of Panipat district of Haryana and is one amongst the many children who were working in the textile factories of the district, famously called the ‘cast-off capital of the world’.

As per the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, amended in 2016 ("CLPR Act"), a "Child" is defined as any person below the age of 14, and the CLPR Act prohibits employment of a Child in any employment, including as domestic help.

However, the grim reality according to the 2011 Census of India states that there are more than 10.2 million ‘economically active’ children in India in the age group of five to 14 years.

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With an aim to check the prevalence of child labour in the region, Humana People to People India launched its Action Against Child Labour (AACL) Project in three wards of the district covering 2,439 households, which comprise approximately 10,000 people. The initiative is supported by the Government of Netherlands, the Dutch organisation, Sympany and advocating organisation, Arisa.

The project team identifies working children and then either enrol them into a mainstream school or one of HPPI-run Sambhavana schools where their academic and social competencies are built up before they are enrolled in a formal school. 
In order to enhance the sustainability of the intervention, the project team has also created a cadre of community-level volunteers called Child Rights Protection Force (CRPF). The members of this force play an active role in sensitising the parents, factory owners, school authorities and other relevant stakeholders about the issue of child labour while also ensuring the retention of children once they are enrolled in schools.

Nitu was identified as a working child by the AACL project team and enrolled in the Sambhavana schools where, along with regular academic classes, she is also receiving digital education.
“Learning computers have been the most interesting part of the classes at school. I thoroughly enjoy learning to type and communicating with my friends over the internet,” she says with a smile.

Since the launch of the programme in January 2018, the AACL project has successfully removed 612 children from exploitative working environments and integrated them into the education system. And sustained efforts of the project team and the CRPF members ensures that children like Nitu receive just the right environment to unfold their potential for a brighter future.

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About HPPI

Humana People to People India is a development organization registered as a not-for-profit company under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 as of 21st May 1998. It is a non-political, non-religious organization. Its mission is to unite with people in India in order to create development in the broadest sense through the implementation of the projects that aim at transferring knowledge, skills and capacity to individuals and communities who need assistance to come out of poverty and other dehumanizing conditions.

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