The Indian sandstone cobble industry is tarnished with stories of poor working conditions, bad labour practices and endemic child labour. While these issues do exist, they are not the whole story. Numerous positive, community lead initiatives are taking place. For example in Budhpura, where the Indian NGO Manjari, Belgian wholesale ‘Beltrami Natural Stone’ and UK stone supplier ‘London Stone’ are working together with the local community on the creation of Child Labour Free Zones.
On the blog ‘No Child Left Behind’ Manjari, Beltrami and London Stone are sharing stories to educate and inform the industry about the root causes of child labour in the Indian Sandstone industry. The blog also aims to raise awareness of the amazing community led initiatives that are slowly succeeding in eradicating child labour in Budhpura and the surrounding villages and hamlets, where the majority of Sandstone Setts, destined for UK and European markets, are produced.
In the first blog post Bram Callewier, Director of Beltrami, talks about the historical context of how western companies got involved in the Indian Sandstone industry and how little their understanding was of ethical issues in those “early days”. In part 2 of the 6 part series, Steven Walley, director of London Stone, is talking about Manjari. Manjari is the Budhpura based NGO playing a pivotal role in establishing child labour free zones in Budhpura and the surrounding villages.