Save the Children and IKEA Foundation have extended their efforts to fight child labour in the cotton industry by expanding their programmes to Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
Thomas Chandy, CEO Save the Children said, “We are delighted to be able to work with the IKEA Foundation in expanding this work further to reach even more children across India.”
This expansion will build on already successful effforts in 1,866 villages in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra where more than 65,000 children (6-14 years) have been moved out of child labour and into classrooms.
In addition, the projects have also helped 89,000 children (3-6 years) benefit from quality preschool education (Anganwadi) and provided vocational skills to 16,000 adolescents (15-18 years).
The new intervention will aim to replicate this success by:
• Improving the quality of education to make sure children complete school and reduce the drop-out rate;
• Enhancing family incomes through access to government social security and rural work schemes;
• Raising awareness in cotton-growing communities of children’s rights and the dangers to children from working in cotton fields and factories.
“This is a natural step in our long collaboration with Save the Children to strengthen children’s rights in India,” said Per Heggenes, CEO of IKEA Foundation. “If we can create more opportunities for children in developing countries by improving education and awareness of children’s rights, we can help these children break the cycle of poverty and build a brighter future for themselves, their families and society at large.”
Involving local communities
The projects have been designed to ensure that communities are actively involved in preventing children from working on cotton and cotton-seed farms by setting up Child Protection Committees, providing quality education and building families’ capacity to access alternative sources of income.
The new work in Punjab and Haryana, two of India’s largest cotton producing states, will build on this community involvement model.
In Rajasthan, one of the poorest states in India where more than 46% of the children drop out of school, the work will also include a focus on child migration from the district of Banswada.