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Child Labour

After its inception the organization realized that a large number of children in Delhi were engaged in the hazardous occupation of rag-picking to eke a living for themselves and their family. To wean these children from rag picking, Prayas started need based programs comprising of alternative education, nutrition, health, counseling, recreation and shelter. To strengthen the services further it started vocational skill training program to provide earning opportunities to the marginalized children and youth. The Child Protection programs of Prayas are based on the belief that needs and rights of children are synonymous. Prayas has adopted a unique yet significant strategy for combating the problem of Child Labour by linking it with Education and Juvenile Justice and wishes to create replicable models to address this problem.

Prayas has been constantly engaging with Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE), statutory bodies like NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights) and NHRC (National Human Rights Commission) for advocating and formulation of legislations, policies, SOPs, Rules, Manuals and Action Plans, towards elimination of child labour. These include amendment to the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and its Rules, SOP for Combating Trafficking of Persons in India, SOP for Effective Implementation of Child Labour Act, Amendments in Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourer, National Child Labour Project etc. As a member of the Central Advisory Board, Prayas constantly assists MoLE in framing better policies. As a major partner in the Indus Child Labour Project, Prayas implemented a model for rehabilitation of child labour through Transitional Educational Centres, Vocational/Skill Centres for victims of child labourers and Income Generation Program for families of child labourers.

A study conducted by Prayas in Jaipur, Rajasthan revealed that during 2014 – 2016, 1,582 children were rescued from child labour, and out of these, 1,200 (75%) were traced back to Bihar. Since 2014, Prayas has been constantly involved in rescuing and restoration of children trafficked from Bihar into Rajasthan, particularly Jaipur, repatriating over 2500 children back to their home state. It is estimated that there are 50000 child labourers in Jaipur alone. Prayas’ constant engagement with States of Bihar and Rajasthan has ensured the development of an Inter State working Arrangement between the two States, from the point of mapping and identification and rescue to rehabilitation, including follow up in courts and for compensation. Prayas has also drafted an Inter State SOP with NCPCR to identify functions of various departments of the concerned States, especially in cases of child labour and child trafficking. It has the following important components:

Prayas filed a petition in NHRC regarding the non- practicability of the new Bonded Labour Rehabilitation Scheme i.e., The Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour 2016. It was submitted in the petition that due to linkage of release of rehabilitation package with the conviction of the accused persons being tried under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, it becomes extremely difficult and also time consuming for the released bonded labour to get the monetary benefits under the Central Sector Scheme ( compensation of 1,2,3 lakhs respectively). The resultant delay in non-payment of rehabilitation package leads to re-victimization of the victims and they have no option but to fall back to bondage. NHRC has accepted the issues raised in the complaint and opined that there is a need to immediately revise the Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour, 2016.

The Special Training Centres (STCs), envisaged by the Labour Resources Department and Prayas, are aimed at socially rehabilitating and reintegrating survivors of child/adolescent labour. The children in these Residential Centres have access to non-formal education, soft skills, life skills, vocational training, etc. The program focuses on holistic development of children through innovative pedagogy and planned extracurricular engagements.  Prayas is currently running 3 such STCs in Bihar (Gaya, Patna, Jamui)

Though Prayas conforms to the total elimination of Child Labour yet it believes that this aim can be achieved only in a phased manner. It claims that legislation alone cannot be effective but would have to be supplemented by providing proper educational and occupational alternatives to the working children. The target children generally constitute, out of school children (child labour or potential child labour), street and working children and children especially girls who are engaged in household chores or work outside their homes and left with fair amount of free time left to attend school. The holistic development programs with an integrated approach are suited to address the child labour needs of care, protection, development and participation, thereby enabling them overcome their own limitations and come out of the difficult situation to develop their full potential.

The salient features of the program are:

HomeAlternative Education, Formal Schooling and National Open School (NOS) provide multiple opportunities suited to every child's individual needs of education. This is strengthened by Sponsorship program for children.
HomeVocational Training opportunities.
HomePlacement/ Self Employment.
HomeCommunity mobilization through setting up of local institutions for withdrawing children from work and sending them to school.
HomePrayas is one of the major partners in the Indus Child Project being implemented in Delhi. This is a technical collaboration program of ILO, US Labour Department and Department of Labour Govt. of India.
HomeBased on its experience it has been assigned the responsibility of implementing a replicable model for rehabilitation of child labour in Jahangirpuri and North-East Delhi. The components of the program comprise:
HomeTransitional Education Centers (TECs) for 650 child labour in the age group of 9-13 years