Shri Kailash Satyarthi (Sharma) was born on January 11th, 1954 in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, India. His father was a police officer and his mother a homemaker. Even as a child, Satyarthi was already touched with underprivileged children.
Helping hands towards needy
Mr. Kailash Satyarthi decided to help these needy children. Therefore, they built a soccer club to raise money to support them pay for their education. At the young age of 11, with the help of a friend, he collected used books from his town and distributed them to needy kids. The concept of a “book bank” was where school textbooks were collected and used by the underprivileged children.
After completing graduation from the Government Boys Higher Secondary School, Satyarthi attended Samrat Ashok Technological Institute for further education. There he received a degree in electrical engineering. In the year 1977, at the age of 23, he moved to New Delhi and started working for a journalist of literature for a Hindu reform movement.
It was during this time that he changed his surname, Sharma (a high-caste name), to Satyarthi, which he originated from the book Satyarth Prakash (Light of Truth), written in 1875 by the founder of the reform movement. The book, which inspired the abolition of caste systems and encouraged equality among all people, had a profound effect on Satyarthi. He motivated by its principals, as well as his social conscience; he soon established his publishing venture, named “The Struggle Will Continue,” a magazine that documented the lives of the needy and vulnerable.
Struggle against the child labor
At the age of 26, Shri Kailash Satyarthi gave up his career in publishing to engage his life in serving children. Within a short time, he became secretary general for the Bonded Labor Liberation Front, a non-governmental group in India working to end bonded labor. Not long after, however, due to some disagreements with that organization, he left and formed his non-profit organization, “Bachpan Bachao Andolan”, “Save the Childhood Movement.” It was with this new non-profit that his calling had been fully formed into a genuine crusade for justice.
Despite the difficulties involved in solving the problem, Satyarthi’s vision for the future is bright. He says, “A lot of work remains, but I will see the end of child labor in my lifetime.”