From work to school: VIHAAN's efforts to reduce vulnerabilities to child labour
14-year-old Sudhir* couldn’t see his palms in the darkness of his room, but he felt intense pain from long-hours of working under gruelling conditions at the steel wire-mesh factory in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.
He thinks about his parents and drifts off to sleep along with other children with whom he shares the room – they also work in the same factory.
Hailing from a small village in Bihar, Sudhir dropped out of school at an early age and began to work to help his struggling parents. He was lured by a trafficker with a promise of a high-paying job in the city. Little did he know that he would be forced to work for 16-17 hours a day for a meagre salary. For Sudhir, life seemed like an endless wire mesh with no exit.
When VIHAAN received credible information that the children are exploited for labour in the factories of Ghaziabad, we teamed up with the Ghaziabad police and a rescue operation took place. Sudhir was rescued and reunited with his family.
After a few months, Sudhir showed interest to continues his studies. It was mid-term and regular school enrolment has already been completed. So, we supported him to join the one-year technical training course in Mechanical Engineering. He was determined and successfully completed the course in Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. Much to his excitement, his hard work resulted in him bagging a job offer with a monthly pay of INR 12,500.
Sudhir had a yearning in his heart to help children and young people of his communities in a personal way, especially guide them not to fall into the trap of the traffickers – and change their lives for the better. He quit his job and enrolled in class IX through the National Institute of Open Schooling.
Simultaneously, he began a tuition centre in his village with the support of VIHAAN to help children who needed help with their studies and also missed out on regular schooling due to the challenging situations in the village. He acts as a guide, counsel and mentor to students, and leads them in the right direction.
Friends like you changed everything for Sudhir and the children in his community. You are giving them hope, opportunities and a brighter future.