You see them on a daily basis, as you go about your routine. They may be employed in the local eatery that you’ve been visiting for years, or they may be working in some far away field, in a remote part of the country. Girl child labourers are not few in number. According to statistics, 25.6 million out of 58.6

million girls don’t go to school. And these children, most often than not, are in the 14-18 years old demographic. While statistics are dime a dozen and quoted everywhere, sincere efforts to eradicate the issues faced by the girl children are not being taken.

It’s a phase in life when these children should learn and grow in a creative environment, discover their talent and potential. But instead, they are denied the basic right to education and forced to work as child laborers. They get up every morning and go out to make a living for themselves and for their family. And these are not plush jobs in air-conditioned offices. It’s manually-intensive and back-breaking labour, which leads to fatigue, hopelessness and no conceivable future for them.

Education for Girl Children in India has always been difficult. In a country rife with gender inequalities and an underlying nature of patriarchy, girl children often find themselves at the short end of the stick. Discrimination against girls is rampant and due to the fear of abuse and exploitation, they are kept at home and not sent to school. Child marriage is yet another glaring issue due to which girls are forced to give up going to school at an early age. Girls are often married off early, due to societal pressures and they are forced to bear children and consequently devote their life towards taking care of that child.

In order to make sure that girl children get access to quality education, we need to tackle the mindset that makes it okay for young children to be employed. If one person stands up against the wrong of child labour, it won’t take time before the movement gathers weightage. Girl Child Rights are being aggressively advocated in the country by individuals, governmental organizations and many NGOs. Efforts are being made, to make sure children spend more time looking at a blackboard and memorizing equations and alphabets rather than memorizing the menu of a restaurant.

And you can contribute to this change. The next time you see a girl child, or any child forced into labour, don’t just drive or walk past. Notice the look of defeat and resignation that these children have on their faces. Children, who are supposed to laugh, skip, play and make the world a merrier place, instead bear a heavy burden on their shoulders.

Sending the less-privileged younger generation to factories, and not schools, won’t help build the economy. It will just create unfavourable conditions for these unfortunate children and an entirely unstable generation, in the long run.

You can too can support this cause as you know education is not the means to an end, it is an end in itself. With education, these children can change not just their own, but the fate of the future generations as well. Donate or volunteer with organisations that are dedicated to the upliftment and the welfare of the girl child in India.

Do your bit, today!

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