June 18, 2017
About 500 people from various walks of life and of all age groups took on the city’s streets for a walkathon, to create awareness on the issue of child labour.
Organised by Child Rights and You (CRY), the walk was flagged off by Deputy Commissioner of Police, M Durai and covered covered about five kilometres.
The walk was a symbol of people coming together for a cause they feel passionate about and the aim was not just to raise awareness but urge people to take notice of the gravity of situation of child labour, change perception which sees it as a norm and take collective action to fight this issue that plagues thousands of childhoods, a CRY release said.
What made this walk unique was the fact that it was prime-moved by a 16-year-old girl Shambavi Vaidiyanathan who despite residing in Singapore now, wanted to mobilize people in her hometown Coimbatore to fight this issue she feels so strongly about.
While volunteering with CRY, she was eager to do something which would involve the general public and has also started crowdfunding and has already raised about Rs.2.5 lakh to support CRY in the fight against child labour.
“Allowing children to work is a gross violation of their basic rights. It not just deprives them of a healthy growth, mentally and physically, but it has far reaching implications on their overall development. Banning of child labour in entirety without any exceptions is a solution to protect our children from being exploited.
But more importantly, people need to change the way they look at children in their day to day lives and not encourage child labour in any form, be it at their own homes or employments or the street. It is heart-warming to see our youth spearhead this initiative and bring together the entire community to fight for this cause,” CRY Program Head South, John Roberts said about the initiative.
Quoting 2011 Census, Tamil Nadu has 2,84,232 working children in the age group of 5-14 years, CRY said that only a collective action by not just the government, but all stakeholders – parents, teachers, and communitymembers can ensure that these children are not deprived of their right to education, development and play and lead to a lasting change.