Help for 790,000 at risk of child labour in Indian cotton communities

About 790,000 children in India will benefit from an initiative to stop them having to work in cotton fields and help get them into school.

The $9.4million programme is the second phase of a long-term project which has already helped more than 150,000 children in cotton communities move out of labour and into classrooms.

Save The Children and its partners Pratham and Breakthrough – backed by the IKEA Foundation – will work with local and state leaders, farmers, teachers and families in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan states.

They will provide children with access to quality education, improve teacher training, develop local child protection and school management committees and tackle issues such as gender-based discrimination.

India has an estimated 12.6million child labourers. Punjab has a large number of children working in agriculture – about 25% of them are believed to be involved in picking cotton. In Rajasthan and Haryana, large numbers of the cotton-picking workforce are children.

Per Heggenes, CEO of IKEA Foundation, said: “We know there is no quick-fix solution to ending child labour but long-term approaches can yield impressive results The IKEA Foundation, with our partners, has been tackling this issue in India for nearly a decade. This new phase reinforces our long-term commitment and our desire to help millions more children out of child labour and back into the classrooms.”

Thomas Chandy, Save the Children’s CEO in India, said: “The expansion of the partnership means that many more children will attain the right to education, protection and development across India.”

The first phase of the programme began in 2009 in more than 1800 villages in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

It reached 600,000 children through education and protection programmes, improved school enrollment rates trained almost 2000 teachers and moved more than 10,000 migrant children back into their communities.


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