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Monday, 19 November, 2001, 18:31 GMT
Child labour: Your comments
May I congratulate on a fine programme. Such amazing children in such adverse circumstances. Their energy and vision is an example to us all. It rather sad that the same cannot be said of the ignorant bureaucrats on the programme - an embarrassment to themselves and to their nation.
Thank you for your excellent programme on child workers in India last night - it has certainly been a talking point at work today.
We would be very interested to know if the young people found another shelter and how they are getting on with their business idea. We found the programme inspirational as we work in the community development sector in Belfast and focus very much on education for both young people and adults. Very often we find that it is just as important to educate parents at the same time as the young people to make real changes to people's lives.
Thank you for a holistic report on child labour, which acknowledges the rights of the children to organise and work, when they have no other option.
I am a research associate at the Water, Engineering and Development Centre based at Loughborough University. My area of work is in waste management - mostly in South Asia - and much of this involves children living and working on the streets as waste pickers. Having worked with these people extensively in Delhi, Karachi and Dhaka I found the programme of great interest, and I did not know about some of the organisations shown in Delhi.
I thought your programme on child labour was brilliant. As an Indian, I completely empathise with those children. I commend the Butterflies charity for dealing with the problem of child labour practically. I must say I am extremely disappointed with Christian Aid for cutting of their support.
I would like to do something to help the children in India, as I am deeply shocked and distressed at what I saw in your report.
I am 16 years old and currently studying AS levels at Denefield
Technology College, which is also a school. I'm sure my teachers and fellow students would also be glad to be involved in any way possible.
I was both intrigued and disturbed to watch your report on the children who are abused.
I was also impressed in terms of how you tried to overcome the resistance met by the police and government officials who have so much power in their fiefdoms.... did you yourself encounter any problems whilst researching and reporting your story?
You say that the parents of the children featured in your programme cannot get work.
How far is this situation linked to world trading regulations and are the parents of these children aware of these trading inequalities?
I have travelled extensively in India during the last few years and am particularly interested in children's' lives. I have worked with children who have been abused physically, sexually and emotionally abused in various settings, including residential settings. What strikes me about the children in your documentary was their incredible strength, energy and resourcefulness.
This is something I have seen little of within my working life. Perhaps this is because adults make decisions about their lives. It is so important for children to feel empowered and to have some control over their lives.
Does not the civil servant admitting 'not being a human but a government employee' say the "unspeakable" treats its citizens overall? Imagine application of that statement on India's peace keeping forces!
Brilliant programme on the "street children".
I watched your report on the Indian children forced to work and was utterly appalled by the harsh treatment of these poor kids, especially by the Indian Government Officials and the Police.
What a moving programme, and the children showed such nobility!
Can we not collectively request patrons from global multinational companies to offer their help in alleviating this appalling situation?
Sue Lloyd-Roberts' excellent and thought-provoking report on Indian child labour raised many questions. I should like to ask what could be done by Western companies investing in India to help child labourers help themselves. I should also like to ask what could be done by the British government to help these children.
The children's conditions are Dickensian. By the 1950's, in Britain we were all living relatively comfortably, with a national health service, education, social security and pensions.
Truly excellent reporting. My husband and I were appalled when you said that Christian Aid stopped funding Butterflies - what was their excuse?
Thank you very much for your report. On the one side, the courage and energy of these children and on the other the shameful world of the "responsible adults". I was surprised to hear that Christian Aid withdrew funding to what seemed to be a vital organisation for the boys.
Your documentary provided a great insight into the lives of working children in India.
I am going to visit India this New Year, spending some time in Karnataka. I have been to India a few times. What I would like to know is, WHAT CAN I DO? I often feel this way when appalling world situations such as this are exposed. It is important to be informed and it is also important to be able to do something to help in some way however big or small that may be.
It was very clear from the programme that education is the only way out of the child labour trap and as the children themselves said, work should be given to their parents instead. What about children who are orphaned or abandoned? The first priority for all of these children is food in their bellies.
As I watched the "water corporation" fiasco I recalled that kind of ignorant dismissive treatment when I was there and how frustrating and annoying that was, but of course that was not for a basic, crucial life necessity. And as I watched the children crossing the pipe over the river I thought, why can't a simple footbridge be built. So much of this world is built on corruption but never so blatantly and so much as in 'Third World' countries such as India. We have to begin somewhere, firstly with information and then reaction. Your program was excellent.
An excellent and very sad program which rather puts into perspective the folly in spending millions on nuclear weapons/testing. What next though? Does not UNICEF have power to prevent this from continuing? I fear that the level of corruption in India would overcome any legal rights that the children have. Well done for standing up and being counted Sue.
I would like to thank Correspondent for highlighting the working conditions
of the Indian children. A reality that I did not know about but would like
to do something to show my support.
I am currently studying child labour as part off an undergraduate sociology module at the University of Nottingham. I have been to India and have seen the vast poverty but I have worked in rural and city schools in the Hyderabad region and have seen what results and hope, education can bring to communities. Surely then, the parents should realise that their children will never have the chance to flourish without any form of education?
I believe it is up to the children's parents whether their children should work or not because the parents don't earn enough money to feed/clothe their children. I do think that they are under paid and should be paid more but they do work so hard, so leave them alone.
I very much liked the way this report was filmed from the street children's own point of view with adult mediation kept to a minimum. This approach emphasises the children's role as participants in their communities - not just as victims which is the usual angle. I feel that the production might have gone further in demonstrating that there is a difference between the situation of children who are exploited as bonded labour and the situation of those who are forced by circumstances to live on the streets but who take on street work as a way to support themselves. One child spoke of this. It is very central to the way street & working children manage to survive.
Thank you for this programme, it is a remarkable testament to the courage of these children that they survive despite the barriers put before them and the abuse. I know we cannot condone child labour, but isn't it time we in the West encouraged a two track approach of both helping those already having to work to survive with dignity even if it does mean working and trying to get these children education at all cost. As a grown man, I must admit I was moved to tears many times during this programme.
I just want to say how moved I was by your programme tonight about the enterprising rag picker boys of New Delhi and their determination to publish their newspaper to tell the world about their predicament. Their struggle against the blind mean-spiritedness of unimaginative Indian bureaucracy was summed up by the exchange with one official who said words to the effect: "I am not a human being. I'm a government employee." That comment spoke volumes.
The programme had a special interest for me as someone who has a very great love of India and Bangladesh which I have visited in recent years and as someone who has spent his career as an English teacher in secondary schools. I was most impressed with the little we saw of the newspaper - it looked a professional production of a high order. I wish it was possible to obtain a copy of an edition or two. It would surely be instructive and informative.
What I found depressing as I watched was the contrast between the boys' thirst for education and dogged determination to obtain it despite the seemingly impossible odds against them, and the complacency and dismissive contempt for education that is seen in so many school aged children in this country today. I speak from personal experience!
It is clear from your report that by any standards, hopefully not least by those of the United Nations, that the Indian authorities are not dealing with the issues of child workers effectively. I believe, the reasons for their inability to deal with them are so complex that one could devote a year's worth of "Correspondents" and still not understand them sufficiently to define a clear strategy for change. I am not an expert on India but would expect that poverty, corruption and the caste system all play an intertwined role in supporting the situation.
I was deeply moved by the programme and really felt that I would do anything to be able to change that situation. I thought it was admirable how children without education can have the courage and the know how to undertake the plans they seem to be pursuing. I don't understand one thing: how can adults not help and understand the children while their own are working to support their families.
I have just watched this program of yours about the children in India on BBC, and it really touched me, I am 14 years old and it really made me think that here in England I'm getting all the things I love. I am educated and getting everything I need to make a good well being and future! The thing that I'm wanting to no is childrenżs need has just passed by, and still no change to this world, so Iżm wanting to no is WHERE THE HELL IS ALL MONEY IS GOING TO ???????
Brilliant documentary, thanks. This programme has made me want to find out what organisations are working in India and what projects are on the go in relation to tackling unemployment for the parents, or are working to bring about fines for employers of children. The whole issue is a mess and my ignorance has supported it!
I am a recently retired public health physician with 15 years experience in developing countries. I have been concerned about child labour for some time and realise it is not a simple problem. Often the only family income is the child's wages. Work for parents is required and a willingness of those in industrialised countries to pay proper prices for the goods produced. I was encouraged by the approach, attitudes and courage of the young people in your programme.
Having watched your programme 'Whose life is it anyway?' one of the main solutions around the problems was to help the parents secure reliable sources of income so the children wouldn't have to work. Obviously this will take time to achieve and therefore something more intermediary needs to be done.
You made a fantastically powerful programme on child labour in India. The efforts of the children to organise themselves into a Union and better themselves was awesome.
Don't you think you are too simplistic in your views on the problem of child labour in India? Have you thought of the India before the British Raj? Was India not one of the richest countries in the world? Don't you think that the 4th richest country in the world that looted India for 150years have some moral responsibility for the present condition of India's poor children? Don't you think that the so called "developed" world could do much more to educate and improve the infrastructure of the "developing" world. I would like to have a debate rather than a short answer. I hope you know what happened in Kerala during the past 50 years of independence.
I watched your programme on Sunday evening regarding the working children of Bangalore in India. I found it an interesting documentary and was unhappy to know that the children only have one water pipe available to them at certain times of the day. There should be more water pipes available to those who live in the slums. I feel that some pressure should be placed upon the Indian government to provide the basic necessities that these people need. More documentaries should be made to highlight this dreadful situation.
Thank you for bringing the situation of the working children in India to light.
As was pointed out on the programme, the root cause of child labour is poverty. Can international NGOs such as Save the Children, who say they are against child labour, be influenced to realise that the power of international bodies such as the WTO, IMF, World Bank etc, needs to be challenged at all levels to ensure a more level playing field for poor countries like India?
Firstly THANKYOU for preparing such an excellent program. Your obvious concern for the day to day problems these children experience was clear and well presented.
Education is the key to breaking the ongoing vicious circle of poverty and I commend the bravery and organisational skills of the children you focused on.
I am very moved by the subject of your program and felt I should email you immediately to express my gratitude to you for tackling such a controversial topic.
This was an excellent and thought provoking programme. It's strange that there are children who want to go to school and can't, and in this country they have all the schooling they want, and don't want to use it.
I was very moved by the courage and tenacity of all the children. I was appalled to see the apathy and hostility of adults in authority - especially at the closing of the boys shelter. I can understand the views of the abolitionists but the issue will not go away by fighting against the children's unions.
I was very impressed with your report and felt total admiration for the children who were trying to drag themselves out of poverty and frustration that a country could treat it's people in this way.
This documentary was unique. It is rare that this type of human! tragedy is brought into our living rooms. I feel disgusted to have the luxury of living in the UK. I know that I would not survive the conditions we viewed this evening. I feel as many people will frustrated by the lack of effort made by the Indian Government but also by ourselves because we should not let this happen. I am too caught up in my world of business but want to make a difference.
Saddened and angry at the way the children were dealt with.
This programme was upsetting but inspirational due to the sheer determination of those children.
As a mother with two young children, it upsets me to see the terrible conditions in which these children live.
After watching your excellent programme I am not only appalled but dismayed at the situation and the lack of help these courageous children are getting.
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