| |

World Day Against Child labour 2009

Brief description of Core Marchers

Reyna Aguilar Tacuri , 21 years, Peru

My name is Reyna, in fact many incredible things happened in my life. I was born in a province far away from the Department of Apurimac , Perú, exactly in the district of Pomacocha. My family is composed of my parents and 5 siblings, all suffered live-time because  of terrorism. My family fled to Lima from Pomacocha because my uncles were killed by terrorists. With the fear of those times, my father fled with my two brothers to Lima, as it was common that the terrorists made raids and took out the boys, so we were four girls, with my mother, who years later fled to Lima, where my father was waiting for us.

I came to Lima at the age of 3 years; my family was seeking for a very large field in which to live, since my family was a large one, so my father brought us all to New Jerusalem which is located in Las Lomas de Carabayllo in the northern side of Lima. There we began a new life, away from the fears. Here in Lima life is very different from the countryside where I came from.

I started working when I was 8 years old, because my family did not have enough financial resources for our survival; my father hurt his back, and because of this, suffered a surgery in 1996. By this means, my siblings a me had the obligation to work, so I started selling sweet lollipops on the beach at Ancon, hence in multiple jobs, helping in a nearby house from the neighborhood, taking care of babies, but always close to my home.

When I turned 12, it was the first time leaving my family to work in a place very far from home, this was at Callao; the main duties I had to take care of, were to take care of a baby, do the cooking, the home cleaning, dish washing. The working days and hours were done by Monday through Saturday from 6 am until 11:00 pm, all this because I had to wait for the baby's parents since they were vendors. I was paid about 100 soles (aprox. 30 american dollars) a month and could just only return home on Sundays, and had to return back again the next day. This experience was good for me, although I slept on a sofa where I hurt a lot my back, and also couldn´t sleep to much as well. By other means, I did not like it very much because I was away from home, I used to work during summer vacations, in spite that my mother did not want me to continue with it, but I had to do so, because the urgent needs in my home.

I always thought it would be my whole life working at a different home or maybe selling lollipops or pacifiers or caring for children, and that just only, because I use to live in a very poor area and there were no opportunities for development and progress, could not even play because I had to work. Always thought that only people with money, could study and since my family had none of it and besides with 6 siblings, was a worst issue even. It was very common that girls who could finish studies at school, would get pregnant as a turning circle. So, I thought that it had to be seen because there was no other option, but obviously I wanted to study, finish school studies and continue after at a university getting out of where we lived, but those were only dreams I thought, dreams that may never meet.

At that year an NGO reached us, initially did not know it was or what it meant. I was only 12 years, its name: CESIP, never even imagined that there were people who were interested in the poor, then met Maria Angelica Chong Wong who with affection we call her by the nickname of "Anyi". She was in charge of the project with a team by that time. She was always awaiting and caring for us, helping us as we get along by our sides and having a good relation. Thus, the NGO conducted a call for all children and adolescents who worked for a series of trainings, so I signed up, we had a lot of fun, workshops, games, trips, many fun activities, we were trained in many topics that were new to me but I remember a lot and always remember these issues such as:

development of personal and social skills which are:

gender equity,

rights and duties of children and adolescents who work and institutions that protect them,

Child and adolescent labor concepts,

causes and consequences of child labor,

gender and sexuality,

self esteem,

assertive communication,

self - decision making,

goals and life planning.

These issues helped me greatly to know what my rights actually were, as well as my duties. I learned what Self esteem meant; all these issues have helped me to have a more clear vision of my life; I felt that I would be making anything I wanted.

CESIP took a turn to my whole life, a new vision, made me feel different, useful, although poor could excel in all that had rights as a teenager, gave us the opportunity to many young people do better, leave the place where we lived never gone to places for recreation, we went out for a walk with CESIP was fun, learned to relate to teenagers, to learn together how great we are, gave us the opportunity to have a vision of life, because we did not have to work our age, the consequences of doing that work, physical, mental and emotional, definitely CESIP not only helped us in our adolescence, but really helped us forever, because the lessons were engraved in my mind and in my heart, thanks to its cooperators SKN and TDH Netherlands who visited us and were very good people with us.

I felt the great need for to join them in this great struggle against child labor and raise my voice and that of many children to defend our rights. I participated in this project which was called "Promotion and protection training program for adolescents who work" which started in 1999 and ended by 2001; it helped us close to 3 years, was a unique experience and as the name of the project says, it was really a protection I felt, afforded me by CESIP.

During this period which lasted for the project, I participated in many meetings, district, zonal, congressional visits, exhibitions, interviews on various local stations in order to publicize the issue of child labor and somehow made to understand people that a child has no duty to work, they have rights and it is for parents to go for, as well as the state as responsible of the public welfare. They were unforgettable experiences, not only was my voice that was manifested in the places where I participated, but the voices of many children and adolescents.

I understood my rights and quickly began to manifest, first in my home, at school, and thus began a new life for me, I met many people from whom I learned a lot.

Already in 2003, CESIP initiated a new project with new people in a team. There I met Hugo Nuñez, who was running the project with the new team; it was like a follow up of the previous project, so we got trained and gave us the opportunity to "get out” and going to Lima, which was like the big city for us. We received technical studies and continued discussing the issues of children and adolescents rights, and continued to attend conferences, meetings sponsored by other NGOs and CESIP where I was in charge of bringing the voices of children and young people of Lomas de Carabayllo.

At that time I was invited by the Congress of Peru to be part of the Bureau of Labor National Congress of the National Action Plan for Children, where I could set out the ideas of many children and adolescents, so that our rulers could take decisions and do actions well monitored for children and adolescents. At the time I met Isaac Ruiz an extraordinary person, who was responsible for Rights of Children and Adolescents Program at CESIP; it was a great privilege for me to have known him, he helped me a lot.

By the year 2002, a great opportunity appeared to travel to Geneva - Switzerland to attend the 9th Conference of the International Labor Organization, as a representative of children and adolescents in America; by this means, it consisted of showing an action plan for the eradication of child labor. This work plan was made and was conducted at the national level in Peru first, with many children and adolescents from the various regions of the country and the completion of these workshops. I said in the conference to the UN that longer work plans were made at the inside of my country, but much more, it could be shown and done outside the country. So this made me feel very happy, I gained experience and personality, helped me a lot to keep fighting for my rights and for the rights of everyone.

I continued participating in dissemination sites, giving different interviews in the media such as radio, at different meetings,  encounters about the experience gained and shared that with other children about the rights of children and adolescents and the consequences of child labor. I got very much involved, but matured a lot on the personal side. It helped me to set goals so much to improve my quality of life, and to get out and improve my skills and potential.

I participated in the project called Teen Entrepreneurs with CESIP; on this project, we got trained in business management for a period of six months and then got trained on business specialties. Then I studied and trained skills with computers and with two boys organized a Computer Center where I worked as a manager.

The CESIP continued to work on rights issues so I and continued attending radio stations, meetings, visits, and giving different interviews to promote the consequences of child labor and give my voice as a teenager.

Another great opportunity was present, the 1st World Congress of Children and Adolescents, where I was invited by the General Secretariat of the Global March and as a member of the group, my involvement was to bring a proposed work plan for bodies and for Global eradication of child labor. It was a great meeting, where I could talk with no one who could tell me to be silent, and thus carrying the voice of thousands of children and adolescents, so that concrete actions to eradicate child labor in the world my be done.

Finally, I understood that the world has people like Mr. Kaylash Satiarti, a man with a great human quality to this character, whom I met in Geneva, Switzerland. We became very good and close friends and he was great with me, incidentally rioja very strange, the work is admirable and that the Lord bless you and God bless you always, so much to admire. As I said before, he is the Secretary General of the Global March, so I shared many things with Mr. Satiarti, despite we did not speak the same language we could communicate easily, understanding all those who participated in this great conference. He is a very good man who cares for the most vulnerable ones, such as children and adolescents, so I was very happy to participate. I had the great opportunity al the closure of this march to be held in the central square of Florence, where we all gathered in a crowd to shout the whole world that our children and adolescents want and need to study, we need to play, we want to improve ourselves and so we did it; that beautiful experience helped me to mature more my goals, to think that we could have a great future.

I still involve a lot more, and continue to participate, but no longer just in projects helped by CESIP but with CABILCA, a Support Committee for the Welfare of Lomas de Carabayllo, a group of women who support their own development for our town.

These shares of my life, shows that everything has changed in me, in my attitude to what I did to improve my quality of life, and will continue to take actions to promote children's rights, as well as go for the eradication of child labor.

Now I'm married. My husband is studying physics medicine in the Universidad Mayor de San Marcos. I have already ended the Systems career and I'm doing my thesis for my bachelor´s degree. I am working in an NGO called ACONSUR. The NGO dedicates its duties to fighting for the rights of women, training them so that they can generate incomes for their family and in that chain to improve the quality of life for their children, PLAN International is funding the NGOs in a project on which work is based on the CPO – 09, which is a program for children. I train the ladies of the project, teaching them about their rights, the rights of their children, and do the monitoring of  this project and now feel that is like a circle in my life before I was trained. Now I do it for others.

I feel like these last 10 years have helped me to be better at defending the children and adolescents rights. I have felt in my own flesh what is a child girl worker, the burden it brings to someone, so this motivates me to continue to uphold struggling in this position to promote the rights of every child.

And I feel a commitment to children; it helped me greatly, gave me great opportunities, they made me grow as a person. It may be very difficult to completely eradicate child labor in the world, but it is a dream that is possible to reach; they did it with me, and you can make it with each child or adolescent where their physical, mental, education is subject to, and take immediate action for children.

First I thank God for having met these great people in CESIP, with Ana Vásquez as CESIP´s Director who was always so careful with me; Isaac Ruiz gave me lessons for the support and care, I thank for their appreciation towards me; thanks to Ms. Maria Angélica Chong, a great friend for the continued support given, which would include more people around. I thank all: CESIP, SKN and TDH Netherlands for financing projects with very human objectives, all of which are institutions that educated and formed me, people with great human senses. I know that I am still missing a lot of dreams but I'm going for it; now I understand that dreams are possible to achieve, and I, a poor country girl with very humble parents, who worked very hard, who did not know what was playing, who did not know about rights, which had economic limitations, can now say: that if we fight together for children affected by child labor, we can achieve great and many things to do.

Eradication of child labor is possible, I know.

Cristian Andrés Inzunza Espinoza, Santiago. Chile

 Recounting ten years of my life becomes a complex matter for there is so much to tell. So, I’ll begin by introducing myself. My name is Cristian Inzunza Espinoza, I’m 25 years-old, Chilean, father and a social worker. I currently work on the psycho-social area of the Football Preventive School Program of the Chilean Ministry of Interior. Also, I’m applying to a Master in Social Work at the Catholic University of Chile (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile). During my free time, I coordinate the “Low Marks Average Center” in Pudahuel, district where I was born and grew up.

The first time I heard about the Convention on the Rights of the Child was over 10 years ago, more precisely, in 1994. That year was when Corporacion OPCION developed a social intervention project named “Youth Center” in the Pudahuel District. Then, I was just a 10 years-old boy, my perspective on the rights of the child was partial, not only due to my young age but also due to a social and cultural scarcity. I emphasize in this latter because I think that it becomes essential when it comes to tell my story. Pudahuel is a district located at the periphery of Santiago; said periphery doesn’t only means geographic limits but also social ones, there the poverty and marginality are not only visualized but also lived. This vision and life experience (still very present in my life) have been a fundamental guide in terms of my professional and overall, my personal development.

During a while, I participated in several activities carried out by Opcion, space that I used parallel to my school and sporadic and informal jobs, there I found out about diversity in subjects that I’ve never even dreamt of before. Slowly, the time I used for working tasks, I started to dedicating it to more recreational and training activities offered by Corporacion Opcion, and I got more actively involved in matters of discussions and organization. Today, and being with a few more years of experience, more mature and having a significant amount of knowledge, I can call that process as one of ongoing youth citizenship.

My direct and full incursion in subjects related to child labor began more by chance. Corporación Opcion invited me to a congress on Child Labor, this immediately called my attention because I was still dedicating part of my time to work. It was there where I met the Global March; the speech against child labor was decisive for the perspective of my life. I started to take part at a periodically round table on the subject with other children who were part of the Global March movement. I remember that process as one of the most important periods of my life because I allowed my self to question things I never dare to ask before. So, at my age of 13, a new question emerged: Why do I have to work? Though, the answer never arrived, the decisions did. After a while, I quit working for good.

I continued and increased my participation in the Global March, I took part in several forums and events related to child labor and rights of the child; I developed and supported much better my arguments and I finally obtained the answer not only to the question that made me stop working but the answer to many others.

Suddenly, like today, the possibility to travel to Switzerland came up to participate in a lobby campaign for the Convention 182. I did not have to think it twice: I packed my suitcase and took off. The experience was just hallucinating. When I came back, the Chilean President then in office, Ricardo Lagos, ratified the ILO Convention 182 and we together celebrated in a public event. After that event, I was no longer involved in the “Youth Center”.

I continued though, participating in the Global March and Corporación Opcion. In June 2001, I took part of the PrepCom at the Special Session on Children that took place in New York; then, during the same year, I attended to the South American Caucus Meeting in San Bernardino, Paraguay, the following year in the Special Session on Children and all of the sudden, I wasn’t a child any more. This, far from frustrating me and keeping me away from the subject, it did raise new challenges for me to face. It took me a year to prepare myself for the University’s entrance examination.  I wanted to become a social worker but in spite of my parent’s unquestionable efforts, the monetary resources were limited so I had to work to cover the university fees. I worked as an educator at the same “Youth Center” where I used to participate as a child. I started again to participate in the Low Marks Average Youth Center and overloaded (as I usually do) my agenda.

I occupied the sixth place to study social work at the Pontificia Universidad Católica. The University’s years complemented and organized my previous experiences; little by little I was becoming a Social Worker who had been in social intervention from both sides: as a beneficiary and as a professional. There too, I met Natalia, the woman I love and the mother of my daughter Sofia.

During the second year of my degree, a World Congress of Child Workers took place in Florence, Italy, my participation init was as a mediator which gave me the opportunity to share enriching experiences and learn the worldwide reality of children and child labor.

Before finishing the university, I started working as a Social Worker, I obtained my degree and I began teaching in several universities and working in various projects, I entered in the Ministry’s Program as a professional in situ and six months later I got the possibility to coordinate the Program in six different regions of the country

Today, being 25 years-old, I feel more motivated than ever. I’m working on the need to progress in social intervention in children. Professional experience makes me constantly think about children living in poverty and under such complex situations as it is child labor…Finally I’d like to express something: the hope contained in the ILO Convention 182 is still in force and not yet concluded.

In French

Relatar diez años de vida resulta complejo, ello sobretodo cuando hay tanto que contar. En ese entendido comenzaré por presentarme, mi nombre es Cristian Inzunza Espinoza, tengo 25 años, soy chileno, padre y trabajador social de profesión. Actualmente me desempeño como profesional de la línea psicosocial del Programa Escuelas Preventivas de Fútbol del Ministerio de Interior de Chile, además soy aspirante a Magíster en la Escuela de Trabajo Social de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile y en mi tiempo libre me dedico a la coordinación del Centro Juvenil Promedio Rojo en la comuna de Pudahuel, lugar donde nací y crecí.

Hace bastante más que diez años que conocí la Convención de Derechos del Niño, más precisamente en 1994, año en que la Corporación Opción comenzó a desarrollar un proyecto de intervención social llamado Centro Infantil en la comuna de Pudahuel, en ese entonces yo era tan sólo un niño de apenas 10 años, todavía mi perspectiva frente a los derechos del niño era muy parcial, no sólo por mi corta edad sino también por un contexto de precariedad cultural y social. Hago hincapié en esto ultimo, pues me parece fundamental para narrar mi historia. Pudahuel es una comuna ubicada en los márgenes de Santiago, márgenes que no sólo son geográficos sino también sociales, allí la pobreza y la marginalidad no sólo se ven sino que se viven. Esa visión y vivencia (todavía y siempre presente en mi) han sido guías fundamentales en mi desarrollo profesional y sobre todo personal.

Durante un tiempo participé en diversas actividades de la Corporación Opción, espacio que se dio de manera paralela a mis estudios básicos y mis trabajos esporádicos e informales, descubrí una diversidad de temas que hasta ese entonces no figuraban en mi horizonte. Lentamente el tiempo destinado a las actividades laborales fue volcándose a las acciones recreativas y formativas que la Corporación me ofrecía, me involucré más activamente en la discusión de temas y la organización. Hoy a varios años y con una carga de madurez y conocimiento importante puedo designar ese proceso como una progresiva ciudadanía infantil.

Mi incursión directa y plena a la discusión de los temas ligados al trabajo infantil comenzó azarosamente. Fui invitado por medio de la Corporación a un congreso sobre el Trabajo Infantil, lo que captó instantáneamente mi atención dado que hasta ese entonces todavía destinaba parte de mi tiempo al trabajo, fue allí donde conocí la Marcha Global, cuyo discurso en contra del trabajo infantil fue fulminante para mi perspectiva de vida. Comencé a participar de una mesa de discusión períodica en torno al tema con otros niños que en ese entonces también formaban parte de la Marcha Global, recuerdo esos años como uno de los periodos más importantes de mi vida, pues me permití desnaturalizar cuestiones que hasta ese entonces nunca me había cuestionado. Surgió así una pregunta nueva para mi a mis entonces 13 años: ¿Por qué debo trabajar? La respuesta no llegó, pero si las decisiones.  Al cabo de un tiempo dejé definitivamente el trabajo.

Continué y acrecenté mi participación en la Marcha, me incorporé a diversos foros e instancias relativas a la discusión sobre trabajo infantil y derechos de los niños, desarrollé y fundamenté mejor mis argumentos y finalmente encontré la respuesta no sólo a la pregunta que me hizo dejar de trabajar sino a muchas otras.

De pronto, al igual que ahora, surgió la posibilidad de viajar a Suiza a participar de la Marcha Global, no tuve que pensar mucho, arreglé las maletas y partí. La experiencia fue sencillamente alucinante. Al regreso en conjunto con el entonces Presidente Ricardo Lagos se ratificó en Chile el convenio 182 de la OIT. A partir de ese momento nunca me desvinculé de los temas de infancia.

Seguí participando en la Marcha Global y en la Corporación Opción, luego en junio del 2001 participé en la PrepCom para la Sesión Especial a Favor de la Infancia en Nueva York; el mismo año en San Bernardino, Paraguay en la Reunión de Caucus Sudamericano; al año siguiente en la Sesión Especial a Favor de la Infancia y de pronto ya no era niño legalmente. Ello lejos de frustrar y desvincularme de la temática me planteó nuevos desafíos a enfrentar. Me tomó un año preparar mi ingreso a la Universidad, quería estudiar Trabajo Social, pero como a pesar del indudable e incuestionable esfuerzo de mis padres los recursos eran limitados, debí trabajar para costear mis estudios, me dediqué a trabajar como educador del  proyecto Centro Infantil, en el siendo niño participé. Retomé mi participación en el Centro Juvenil Promedio Rojo y volví (cómo es usual en mi) a recargar mi agenda.

Ingresé a la Pontificia Universidad Católica en el sexto lugar de mi carrera. Los años de Universidad vinieron a complementar y a ordenar la experiencia acumulada, poco a poco me fui forjando en un Trabajador Social que había vivido la Intervención Social desde ambos lugares, como beneficiario y como profesional; allí también conocí a Natalia, la mujer que amo y que es madre de mi hija Sofía. Estaba en segundo año de mi carrera cuando se realizó el encuentro mundial de niños trabajadores en Florencia, Italia, viaje y participé como moderador, pude compartir experiencias muy enriquecedoras y aprender de la realidad mundial de la infancia y el trabajo infantil.

Antes de egresar de la universidad comencé a trabajar como Trabajador Social, me titulé de la Universidad y me dediqué a hacer clases en varias universidades y a trabajar en diversos proyecto, ingresé al Programa del Ministerio como profesional en terreno y el cabo de 6 meses surgió la posibilidad de coordinar el Programa en tres regiones del país.

Hoy, con 25 años de vida, estoy más motivado que nunca, me he sumergido en la necesidad de avanzar en la intervención social en infancia, la experiencia profesional me lleva en todo momento a pensar en cómo los niños viven la pobreza y las situaciones tan complejas como el trabajo infantil… Para terminar quisiera expresar algo, la esperanza que expresa el Convenio 182 permanece vigente e inconclusa.

AGBODJAN Ablavi Benjamine, Togo

AGBODJAN Ablavi Benjamine was born on the 18th may 1990 at Drekope Koutimé. She became a domestic since she was 6 years.

She was delegate as the speaker of children during the 1998 global march event. She was the one who gave the speech in Togo, at the boarder of Togo and Benin before the authorities and in Abidjan.

Unfortunately at that time she did not have a passport to enable her to travel to Geneva.

Later on she was put in apprenticeship, though she is learning hairdressing she is always in contact with WAO-Afrique for the problematic of domestic workers. She continues to contribute to improve the situation of victims like herself.  She is proud to become today a hairdresser and can gain her life with the job, especially the fact that she is not no more a domestic worker.

Govind Khnaal, South Asia

I clearly remember the day 4th March 1996 at that time I was 15 year old and was working in telephone booth. I was busy finishing my daily chores and heard group of people screaming slogan against child labour. I rushed out to know what is happening. 

From the crowd a tall man came out and stood in center with mike gave an enlightening speech on importance of childhood and education. I could totally relate to his every word as I was missing the childhood and education. I went to him and said I want to join you, he was Kailash Satyarhti.

I joined the march for 4 days in Nepal and understood so much on education and now knew why my family was poor because they are not educated.

After the march I came to Delhi with Mr Satyarthi, I stayed in Mukti Ashram (Rehabilitation home of save the childhood movement) and attended theater workshop, human right classes and non-formal education. The best part of Mukti ashram was I got my childhood back and made lot of friends.

I also participated in many campaigns like anti fire cracker campaign. Domestic Child Labour, Door to Door awareness campaign. I was also part of the children theater group.

In 1998 I joined Mr. Satyarthi and the team for Global March Against child labour . I was one of the core marchers and travelled in more than 10 countries. The best part of the Global March Against Child Labour was the huge participation of people from different walks of life ministers, children, celebrities etc. the movement brought hope to everyone that elimination of child labour is possible and its right of the child that he/she  should go to school.

After coming back to India I continued working with Bachpan Bachoa Andolan ( Save the Childhood Movement) and was involved in many dangerous and life threatening raid and rescue operation. The most dangerous one was the circus project In June 2004, a raid and rescue operations was conducted in the Great Roman Circus in Gonda near Lucknow. With the help of the local government officials and in the presence of media, the BBA team tried to rescue the children. However, the might of the mafia was such that in the presence of a magistrate and fifteen police officers, the circus owner and his goons took out guns, attacked the team and several activists including Mr. Satyarthi were grievously injured. The girls could not be released immediately due to the attack. However, when they were released after a Habeas Corpus petition was filed in the High Court, they had horrifying stories of exploitation and abuse (including gang rape) to narrate. The attack led to a widespread public furor and outcry against trafficking and the involvement of circuses in criminal activities. The attack and the following incidents resulted in a huge public furor against circuses in particular and on the issue of trafficking in general. With the common man supporting the cause, several circuses had to be shut in the following months. In August 2004, the government of Bihar issued a notification that any circus which employed girls or trafficked children would not be allowed to camp which was a moral victory to the cause against trafficking. I was involved in the raid and follow-up with the girls 
In 2006 I was elected as National Secretary of BBA , I felt honored when I was selected by the representative of 110 districts in India and given the responsibility to start work in Kodarma , Jharkhand. (Jharkand has been at the forefront of the Maoist uprising headed by a guerilla group known as the Naxalites. Since their uprising in 1967, 6,000 people have been killed in the insurgency. Therefore the area was not able to develop; government was also not able to build schools. Despite of Naxalite problem Kodarma is surrounded by mica mining which employs many children into the most hazardous industry).

I started working there in Jan 2006 and after lot of efforts the first raid and rescue operation was conducted in mid of 2006 and one child was rescued from roadside eatery. The raid brought new hope and energy in the local residents mind and they all wanted to help and join me for the change.  Since then with my team I have rescued more than 500 children and helped in building 3 schools for 9 villages now 60-70% of the children go to school.

Till now whole world is not child labour free and still lot has to be done. I want to become a political leader so that I can bring change in a larger way for children. I don’t want any child to go through what I went through I want to make this fight right based and not charity based. 

There have been some developments in the personnel front also I am married to a beautiful wife who has been very supportive in my work and also father or proud son. As every father I want to see my son rise and shine in the world

Manan Ansari

Manan Ansari the former bonded child labourer also was invited to speak on the issue child labour and importance of education. He was rescued by BBA and got his non-formal education from Bal Ashram, Virat Nagar.
Manan Ansari is from a poor Muslim family. His family consists of 10 members including father, mother, five brothers and three sisters. He was working in mica   He used to work 9 hours per day. His father and some of his brothers also engaged in this work. He studied up to 5th standard in the school. He was dropped from the school due to his poor economic conditions in the family. In 2007 he was rescued by the BBA activist and brought him to Bal Ashram.

 Manan Ansari has become more social and extravert in all activities after coming to Bal ashram. He interacts with teachers, staffs and mingles with his friends and inmates in Bal Ashram.. He participates and performs in the cultural activities;

Within this short period of time he got many opportunities to grow in various aspects such as socially, intellectually, mentally and psychologically. On the eve of children’s day, 12 children from Bal Ashram including Manan attended conference with Supreme Court Judges and High Court Judges. During conference Manan has put forwarded demands before them. This kind of opening gave him courage and confidence to grow mentally and intellectually. Manan has passed out 7th Std, successfully with 80% marks in the final exam. At the moment he is teaching some of the children at bal ashram during his summer vacation. In future he wants to go for Medicine.

On the eve of children’s Day Manan from Bal Ashram puts forward various demands before the Supreme Court Judges

Jo-Ann Ranoy-Mendoza

I am Jo-Ann Ranoy-Mendoza, married 27 years old, born on June 24,1981, I live in Pandacan Manila with my two daughters, a former core marcher from Phillippines.

I got involved in a NGO when I was 16 years old. Being with them, help me to learn a lot and to develop my knowledge and skills. They helped me understand the rights and different situation of the children by participating in different workshop, seminars, conference to be able for me to learn more. Until I find myself speaking in front of different people, to advocate children’s right and stop all forms of abuse. I didn't expect that one part of my childhood will create me a responsible teenager. Visiting depress community and meeting the people living in that area is one of my favorite. Having conversation with them teacher me to understand more, the situation of poverty in our society. Giving advocacy session educate them to be aware about the rights of the child.. By continue doing this I felt the respect and have many friends in my surroundings.

Fortunately, I was chosen to represent our country when one invitation from Oslo, Norway arrived. From that workshop I observed and learned again the situation of the child not only from my country but from other part of the world well. So when I come back in my country, I share what I have learned and experience to let them know that the other country has the same problems like ours.

But the big break through happened when I was selected to be part of the Global March. During Global March Against Child Labour , I met different young and adult representative from other continent. We were all from different country, had different language, different culture but had one mission - To stop all forms of abuse and respect the rights of children. We marched on roads; streets anywhere to everywhere to shout, to let the people know that the children are the future hope of country and don't deserve to be neglected. While marching in different country and to be with my fellow core-marchers, I found- out that we also making history to make a change. We represent not only our own country but we also represent the whole children in the world. And we also believed and wanted to be heard and felt the action by the society and the government itself, even if we are apart from our own family. 

At the global march I also learned that the children could learn from adults and adult can also learned from the children. Even if the time goes by, the footprints we made in different country will never forget by the people who also believe in us.

After Global March I got a chance to get involved in an organization named FCED( Families and Children for Empowerment ) 2004 is my first involvement at their organization. Perhaps my past experience gave me the encouragement to join their programme. They trained me to become advocate for the children’s right. All the training that I learned from them, allows me to pass it through in different community. And as a trained advocate, I gave advocacy session to parents so that they can know about children’s right and to avoid child abuse. We also invite the children in the sessions  so that they are aware of their rights and responsibility as well. And perhaps my active presence in every activity gave me the chance to be the co-chairperson of BCPC (Barangay Council for the Protection for Children) here in our community. We assist/refer child cases. Just this month we enrolled out of school youth in ALS (a program by the department of education, the one that I used to get an exam for accreditation).

These moments of mine will mark in my mind and in my heart until the end of my time. I will still continue to support and tell my story up to my grand children. My words are not enough to show my gratitude.