After the 2011 Indian Census, it was estimated that approximately 12.6 million children were engaged in some kind of illegal economic activity. 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 the International Labour Organisation and the United Nations, that India has signed, protect children from labour and aim to secure the rights of the child. 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.

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, as with every Non-Governmental and non-for profit organization, they need to gather support from different players, both government bodies and the private sector.

In 2013, the Indian government approved The Companies Act of 2013. This act states a series of responsibilities for different kinds of businesses, and has a section specifically focused on CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), stipulating that companies spend at least 2% of their profits to support social initiatives. Therefore, this is a crucial moment for organizations all over India. It’s time to develop efficient communication tools to reach the numerous companies in the country that are looking for social initiatives to support. And this is where TIE can make all the difference to Shaishav and the thousands of children they assist.

The timing is crucial to develop effective corporate communication tools for Shaishav, to spread their vision, secure funding and build long lasting relationships.

However, corporate sponsorship alone will not secure Shaishav’s sustainability. For the past 2 years, they have been focusing on getting corporate partners to spend their CSR budget on their programs, but it has been proving a very difficult task. Turns out, most companies are only willing to support organizations that have links to politicians or important figures, or that work on specific causes, with a greater media coverage.

Individual sponsors and crowdfunding are gaining traction in India, so Shaishav wants to explore this area as well. This placement will help them improve their brand and create the strategy and tools to help secure future resources and sponsors.