Standing up for the Rights of Silicosis-Affected in Purohitsar

The RPKNMS initiated the CLFZ intervention last year in the Western District of Rajasthan State Jaisalmer – Village Purohitsar. This village has 104 families with major occupation being stone quarrying in the nearby masonry stone mines. The masonry stone is a low-cost stone and wages earned by the workers are accordingly also low. Hence, some of the village members also work in quarry mines in other areas of the State. One such story is that of Durga Ram, 40 years old who along with his wife used to travel to Balesar District (about 90 kilometres from Purohitsar) for regular work and better wages.

For a number of years now, Durga Ram has been facing respiratory problems and has spent a large amount of money on consultations, medicines and other forms of remedies over the last 10 years but to no avail. He had to stop working five years ago owing to ill health. His wife started working in the quarry, however the family’s economic condition deteriorated severely and even though his four school-going age children are enrolled at the school, they attended school sporadically and contribute to family’s income by shepherding the goats and assisting with mine work. There is also a loan of 100,000 INR borrowed from relatives for treatment and medicines of Durga Ram.

After coming in touch with the union – RPKNMS, the union pursued his case as the leadership feared that he may be affected with silicosis and immediately wrote to the District Collector who in turn wrote to the Department of Labour. The Department of Labour has recommended for registration of Durga Ram to the State Construction Workers Welfare Board for coverage and receipt of benefits to the family. The union also enlisted his case to the Pneumoconiosis Board and on 10th February 2016, he underwent check-up and was confirmed as Silicosis-affected. His silicosis certificate is under process and shall be provided soon, following which he shall be granted 100,000 INR by the State Government. Durga Ram has now been registered under the Rajasthan State Construction Workers Welfare Board. There is a waiting period of one year in the Board, after which educational expenses of children studying in grade VI and above shall be covered by the Board and the Board shall also bear expenses for children’s marriage up to two children. The Board also provides for treatment assistance and accidental insurance.

This story is significant to the project because it helped the partner organisation to make inroads to new areas hitherto uncovered by any CSO or any other organisation which could have taken up case of Durga Ram and many others in this CLFZ. This will also strengthen the campaign on Silicosis and highlight campaign at the State, National and International level. Till date, RPKNMS has been involved in getting relief to Silicosis victims to the tune of 529,00,000 INR (Euro 708,942). Apart from Durga Ram, the union has referred 8 workers for silicosis check-up from this village. Since the start of union intervention on CLFZ in Purohitsar village in early 2015 – the union has 100% membership in the village (222 members – 124 Men and 98 Women). The union has also facilitated registration of 78 workers in the State Construction Workers Welfare Board. Additionally, the union to gain foothold in the community has been actively taking up community concerns including water supply, inflated electricity bills and lack of decent livelihood opportunities.

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Annual Report 'Out of Work and into School' - year 2

In May 2014, Stop Child Labour started the ‘Out of Work and into School’ programme.  Supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, within this programme we are strengthening and expanding child labour free zones, where possible and relevant with active participation of CSR initiatives and companies.

Until now, child labour free zones have been developed in 76 areas around the world and almost 10,000 children were withdrawn from child labour or prevented from dropping out of school. Apart from the direct results of the project for out-of-school and working children, we see positive effects for adults and legally working youth.

We have continued our work with CSR initiatives and companies to work in several sectors to combat child labour in their full supply chains, with specific attention to the lower tiers and area-based approach towards child labour free zones. And we have continued to engage with policy-makers and parliamentarians national, EU and international level.

We are grateful for the commitment of all stakeholders, without whom these results would not have been achieved.

Do you want to know more?

>> Download the summary of the ‘Out of Work and into School’ annual report, year 2

>> Download the full report 'Out of Work and into School', year 2


Union at work in the Indian village of Palri Mangaliya

This is the story about Madan (12), Swarupi (10) and Dinesh (9). They live in India, in the village of Palri Mangaliya. Their parents, who had worked in a stone quarry from a very young age, died in 2014 due to Silicosis, a lung disease caused by inhaling small particles of sand or stone. Ever since, Gomti - their married sister who is married and has three children - takes care of her three siblings.

In Palri Mangaliya, the local union RPKNMS (affiliated with international union BWI) is working on the development of child labour free zones. During the child labour free zone household survey, the family of Madan, Swarupi and Dinesh was categorized as ‘requiring immediate attention’, because none of the children was attending school regularly despite being enrolled at the government school. Following the survey, the education mobilisers started talking to the family to assist them especially in ensuring continuation in children’s attendance at the school.

To ensure that the children are taken good care of by Gomti, and to safeguard their inheritance rights regarding their parental property, a meeting was convened in the presence of the village head and the village council members. Thus, an agreement was reached that the eldest daughter and her husband will take care of her younger siblings until they are 18 years old.

It is going very well with the family. All children – also Gomti’s children - go to school. The household head, Shyama Ram, now works in a stone quarry in Palri Mangaliya and is registered with the Rajasthan State Construction Workers’ Welfare Board.  

This project is part of the Stop Child Labour programme 'Out of Work and into School', supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. For this programme, Stop Child Labour collaborates with local organisations in India, Mali, Nicaragua, Turkey, Uganda and Zimbabwe.


First annual report 'Out of Work and into School' project

Stop Child Labour (SCL) started the Out of Work and into School project in May 2014, as part of our broader programme to eliminate and remediate all forms of child labour linked to the right to education for all children. The project began with a kick-off meeting in Ségou, Mali, in October 2014. Supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands we work on strengthening and expanding child labour free zones, where possible and relevant with the active participation of CSR initiatives and companies.

The first annual report of the Out of Work project can be downloaded here.


Kick-off new SCL programme - report available now

With its new programme 'Out of Work and into School', Stop Child Labour aims to strengthen and  expand child labour free zones (CLFZ) worldwide, where possible and  relevant with active participation of corporate social responsibility  (CSR) initiatives and companies. Participating countries and sectors are  India (natural stone, textile/garment and leather/shoes), Zimbabwe  (tea), Uganda (coffee), Mali (small holder agriculture and gold),  Nicaragua (gold) and Turkey (hazelnuts). The programme is funded by the  Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a three year project period 2014 -  2017.  > Do you want to know more?

Download the report of the kick-off meeting (english version)