Kailash Satyarthi is a children’s rights activist from India who is the co-winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. He and Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban for standing up for educational rights and is now a public figure and activist, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.” Satyarthi has worked with and helped create several organizations that work to eliminate child labor in many countries. He founded Bachpan Cachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Mission), Global Campaign for Education, Global March Against Child Labor, and Rugmark (now known as Goodweave).
Each of these organizations plays an important role in ending the exploitation of children. Even with laws prohibiting it, one in seven kids around the world will be forced into child labor. Children are kidnapped or sold as early as 4 years old and made to work long days on tea farms or in textile plants. There is little to no chance that they could earn freedom through their work and many are subject to physical deformities from malnutrition and the physical demands of the labor.
“Once trafficked into one form of labor, there is a strong likelihood that children may later be sold into another. For instance, a high percentage of girls from rural Nepal, recruited to work in carpet factories, are trafficked into the sex industry over the border in India.”
―June 2004 United Nations study
Kailash Satyarthi works to end this type of abuse. His organization, Goodweave specifically targets the rug industry and is partially responsible for the drop of children involved in the production of rugs. The industry that once had 1 million child laborers is now is estimated at only a quarter million. This is an ongoing struggle that Satyarthi has no intention of giving up. It’s estimated that since 1980, he has contributed to the protection of more than 83,000 children.
For more information on Goodweave, visit http://www.goodweave.org.