Kailash Satyarthi is a social activist in the global movement toward child labor. Now, in addition to his trademark organization Rugmark, Kailash manages the Global March Against Child Labor, a conglomeration of 2000 social-purpose associations and trade unions in 140 countries.
In 1983, Kailash Satyarthi founded the grassroots movement “Bachpan Bachao Andolan”. These movements have rescued over 80,000 children from the scourge of bondage, trafficking and exploitative labor in the last three decades.
Kailash Satyarthi was born in 1953 to belong to the small Indian city of Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh. He completed the degree in electrical engineering and a post-graduate diploma in high-voltage engineering.
After a few years of teaching engineering in a college in Bhopal, Kailash decided to work more directly for social change. Though he was educated as an electrical engineer, he left his engineering career and initiated a movement against those inequalities, and child rights were his main area of work.
Experience teaches life lessons
Much of his motivation came from his experiences as a student, when he felt the deprivation of less fortunate students and took initiatives to respond concretely to their needs. For example, he started a book bank for those who could not afford textbooks that eventually grew into a sustained, widespread effort.
As an analytical thinker, he made the issue of child labor a human rights issue, not a welfare matter or a charitable cause. He has established that child labor is responsible for the perpetuation of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, population explosion and many other social evils. He has also performed an important role in linking the fight against child labor with the efforts for achieving ‘Education for All’.
India is a secular country, and every individual has the freedom to follow the religion of his or her choice. But opposed to the concept of secularism, we have imposed religion on people. The moment a child is born, he or she is marked with a religious identity, and it is at that time when humanity loses out.