According to the International Labour Organization, there are around 12.9 million Indian children engaged in work between the ages of 7 to 17 years old. But the truth is, it is impossible to precisely quantify child labour in India: NGOs and other social initiatives believe the real number is somewhere between 20 and 100 million children labourers. Twenty to a hundred MILLION children are having their rights violated and their childhood stolen. This is something that can’t be taken lightly.

Numerous international conventions drafted by organisations such as the United Nations, that India has signed, protect children from labour and aim to secure their rights. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), for example, emphasises the right of the child to live in a spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality, and solidarity. It also emphasises that children are entitled to special care and assistance. As per the numbers above, this is far from happening.

This ineffectiveness is the reason why Non-Governmental Organisations are vital. They can reach places the central government can’t and enact significant change.

The Shaishav Trust (or Childhood Trust, in plain English) is a grassroots organisation with the mission to address these issues and to assure that children in India have their rights respected and their childhood preserved. They work out of Bhavnagar, one of the poorest cities in India, with and for the children, as a completely participatory, child-rights NGO.

Shaishav believes that all children should enjoy basic rights and experience the joys of childhood equally; that all children should become productive, socially sensitive, and democratically skilled citizens. Their programs range from children and youth collectives, life skills training, gender-specific groups and training, education advocacy, anti-child labour and anti-child marriage campaigns, and much more. Through their work, Shaishav hopes to develop more conscious adults that will be able to transform the Indian society.

In order for this to be possible, Shaishav needs to gather support from different players, both government bodies and the private sector.

This TIE project involves developing a long-term financial strategy for Shaishav, exploring different sources of revenue and guaranteeing the sustainability of their work with marginalised children in India. This will ensure that basic food and hygienic needs are met not only for Shaishav’s children but also for their families. Please get in touch if you would like to know more.