On your mark, get set, go: Hyd forum ECHO to organise marathon to raise awareness on child labour

The aim of the event is to correct the damages brought by the pandemic to the child labour scene across the state. Various national and international seed companies are participating in the event and will take a pledge not to employ children in their companies.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  23 Jun 2022 11:07 AM GMT
On your mark, get set, go: Hyd forum ECHO to organise marathon to raise awareness on child labour

Hyderabad: Hyderabad-based multi-stakeholder forum Enabling Child and Human Rights with Seed Organisations (ECHO) is organising a 5 km half marathon on 25 June at the People's Plaza in Necklace Road to raise awareness about child labour.

The aim of the event is to correct the damages brought by the pandemic to the child labour scene across the state. Various national and international seed companies are participating in the event and will take a pledge not to employ children in their companies.

Davuluri Venkateswarulu, the director of ECHO, said children are mostly employed in seed companies where hybridisation (production of hybrid seeds) is required. "Hybridisation is a very labour-intensive process. It is delicate and repetitive. Pollination has to be done manually by sitting or standing near each flower. So, in order to cut costs, employers prefer young children," explained Venkateswarulu.

He also said that child labour is prevalent in cotton, tomato, and chilly seed production.

Mr. Venkateswarulu pointed out how Covid-19 has left an impact on child labour. According to reports, in the early 2000s, around 60%-70% of children were employed in seed companies. But later, when international investments started coming in, the issue garnered global attention and as a result, the numbers dropped significantly.

"Before the pandemic, the numbers had dropped to 15%. But during the pandemic, schools closed down and children went back to the fields to work. For example, in the Gadwal district where cotton is cultivated, a slight increase in child labour was observed post-Covid," added Mr. Venkateswarulu.

Advisor to the state Child Rights Forum, Varsha Bhargavi said that post-pandemic, it has become very important to look at child labour. "Children did not have access to schools and some of them went along with their families as substitute adult members for work. The marathon is a symbolic event to raise awareness and to remind us that we as a community have to work together. On a larger note, efforts should be undertaken by the officials to go to each house and identify the children who are not going to school and enroll them. In the case of the children of migrant labourers, the employers should identify such children and enroll them in the nearest government school. Another important measure is to reintroduce the bridge course so that the children who have forgotten alphabets and other basics get a second chance," explained Varsha. She also said that convergence of the various government departments like education, agriculture, municipal administration, labour, etc. is very important to achieving the goal of stopping child labour.

MV Foundation's Venkat Reddy and Varsha will flag off the marathon. The event will be held from 6 a.m to 8 a.m on Saturday.

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