How cub reporters fought child labour

Students under Unicef’s child reporter programme are trained to raise their voices against injustice

By Our Correspondent in Jamshedpur
  • Published 20.12.18, 12:20 AM
  • Updated 20.12.18, 9:26 AM
  • a min read
Fearless: Girls perform at the child rights programme in Golmuri, Jamshedpur, on Wednesday. (Bhola Prasad)

Debasish Shaw, a Class VII student of Madhya Vidyalaya Mathiana in Baharagora, saved Shankar Singh, a Class III dropout, from child labour last year. He later convinced Shankar’s mother to send her son back to school.

Bheem Mahali, a Class VIII student of Utkramit Madhya Vidyalaya in Haludbani, did his bit to enrol a tribal boy, Arun Birhor, to school earlier this year.

Like Debasish and Bheem, several boys and girls from government schools are role models in their own right, thanks to the child scribe programme introduced by Unicef in 2009 that instilled self-esteem in many schoolchildren in East Singhbhum.

“Shankar used to support his family by washing bikes and get Rs 20 for each wash. When we learnt that he had stopped coming to school, we went to his house and spoke to his mother who worked as a domestic help. Only after we threatened of police action did she finally agree to send Shankar back to school. He is now in Class IV and doing well,” said Debasish.

“Arun stopped coming to school when he was in Class III. He was busy grazing cattle and missed classes. His mother is an alcoholic and initially , she turned us away. Only after our teachers intervened did she agree to allow Arun to come to school again,” said Bheem.

On Wednesday, Unicef and Jamshedpur-based social outfit Adarsh Seva Sansthan organised a programme with over 150 child reporters of East Singhbhum at a city hotel in Golmuri.

The programme gave the cub reporters an opportunity to share their achievements in fighting social evils like child marriage and child labour.

Unicef’s consultant Rajesh Jha, district child welfare committee chairperson Pushpa Tirkey, district child protection officer Chanchal Kumari and volunteers of Adarsh Seva Sansthan were also present.

Students under Unicef’s child reporter programme are trained to raise their voices against injustice. In selected schools students are trained to be scribes and photographers. Currently students of 90 schools from across East Singhbhum are part of the child reporters’ programme.

“We want children to be know their rights and raise their voices against injustice. We have been raising awareness about Childline and also have policemen to help kids in distress. Anyone can feel free to approach us,” said Chanchal Kumari.

Besides, students also took part in recitation and staged cultural performances.