|Saturday, 31 July 2004 00:00|
WORKING CHILDREN'S MOVEMENT IN SOUTH AND
CENTRAL ASIAThe year 2004 was a very important one for the Working Children’s Movement of South and Central Asia, which had the opportunity to participate in Berlin of the International Movement to strengthen themselves on the Asian level.
Thanks to the Kathmandu Meeting, that took place from the 25th to the 27th of August, 2005, the Asian Movement made great leaps ahead in its expansion and consolidation. On this occasion, delegates from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tajikistan were present. Although the representatives from Mongolia and Afghanistan could not participate, they are already an integral part of the movement.
In the declaration produced by the meeting, the movements underlined the positive and negative aspects of child work in Asia, and analysed national legislation in their countries, which, instead of protecting them, hurt the real interests of working children.
The members of the Asian Movement are :
- Afghanistan WSCR Global Movement for Children (Ge.M.C.), Afghanistan
- Child Brigade & National Working Children's Movement, Bangladesh
- Bhima Sangha, India
- Bal Mazdoor Union, India
- National Movement of Working Children, India
- Mongolian Working Children’s Union, Mongolia
- National Forum of Working Children, Nepal
- National Working Children Movement of Pakistan, Pakistan
- National Committee on Working Children, Sri Lanka
- Working Children Forum/Refugee Children and Vulnerable Citizens, Tajikistan
In Asia, the two first organizations to be founded in India in the 90’s, Bal Mazdoor Union and Bhima Sangha, have played a central role. Since 1996, they have maintained contacts with Movements in the other countries and continents and have played an active role in building the foundation that has led to today’s World Movement, as well as to the growth of the Asian Movement. This has given the opportunity for other Asian countries to join in this important collaborative effort of exchange and common growth.
Bhima Sangha (Bhima union) has a vast experience in the territory. It was founded in 1989 in the State of Karnataka (South India), and currently has about 13,000 child worker members (a figure that is in continuous ascent). Bhima Sangha is an independent association of child workers, and is supported by the Concerned for Working Children (CWC), a network of organisations working with children in Karnataka. The CWC was already working with working children in the beginning of the 80’s, but in the last decade, finding itself in a context in which children under the age of 14 constitute 40% of the overall workforce, it decided to support the process of self-organisation of child workers.
BAL MAZDOR UNION
The Bal Mazdoor Union (children’s union) is supported by Butterflies in Delhi. This organisation has been promoting initiatives with street and working children since 1988 and works on the principles of child participation and the protection of children’s rights. The children plan their own activities, and review and contribute in a critical way to the organisation’s initiatives, as well as those of the adults who work with them directly on the street. The organisation therefore has adopted a democratic and decentralised approach that aims to ensure that even the youngest members participate in decision-making. This strategy has been shown to be useful, because children are respecting their own responsibilities and are actively participating in the activities planned. They are aware that it’s their own programme and for this reason must be carried out successfully. Butterflies reaches out to about 800 children, of which 400/450 regularly attend the group activities. The Butterflies Organization believes in every child’s right to a complete childhood, during which he/she has access to PROTECTION, RESPECT, OPPORTUNITIES and PARTICIPATION for growth and development. The CHILD is at the CENTRE of Butterflies’ interest.
Websites of the other Asian Movements
Mongolia working children's union
National Forum of Working Children
c/o Concern Nepal
National Network of Children's Organisations