The solution: Child Labour Free Zones
A Child Labour Free Zone is a place where no child labour exists and where all children go to school. This could be a village or a plantation. In a child labour free zone everyone is convinced that children belong in school and not in the workplace. Everyone cooperates to completely eliminate child labour and get all children into school.
Success in India
‘Poverty is no excuse for child labour’, is the motto of Shanta Sinha, founder of MVFoundation. During the last decades this partner organisation managed to get over 1million children in India out of work and into school. MVFoundation’s programme is now implemented in over 6,000 villages. In the meantime, 1,500 villages in Andhra Pradesh have been officially designated a Child Labour Free Zone and 1,000 other villages are on their way to that status. MVFoundation's success formula: creating so-called Child Labour Free Zones.
Key to success
The key to the success of the Child Labour Free Zones is the area-based approach against all forms of child labour. The aim is to get parents, children, employers, teachers, unions and the government to change their attitude so that the rights of all children are fulfilled. The motto "child labour is a necessary evil" should be replaced by "child labour, in whatever form, is unacceptable!" No more bosses who consider it normal for children to work for them and no more parents who consider it normal to send their sons and daughters to work. Ultimately, everyone just wants all children to go to school.
In the Child Labour Free Zones, no new school system is implemented, but the entire community is being involved in improving the existing education system. For children who have never attended school, so-called ‘bridge schools’ have been set up, where children can be prepared for the regular education system. Our partner organisations support the influx of new students and provides additional teachers and help parents understand how they can make a living without the work of their child. Besides, they follow former child workers to ensure, together with parents and teachers, that they finish school. In addition, they draw the government’s attention to its duty to provide good education and make sure that all children stay in school.
Child Labour Free Zones in Africa
The Child Labour Free Zones are rising and growing. Not only in India, but als in Africa, local organisations are developing and strengthening the area's where no child is working and every child is in school.
Child Labour Free Zones in Europe
In the Netherlands and Europe, Child Labour Free Zones are places like shops, businesses and schools where products made by children are not accepted. Stop Child Labour urges consumers, governments, international organisations and businesses in Europe and the Netherlands to take an active stance against child labour and to become part of the solution.
Watch our video on Child Labour Free Zones: