What you aspire can be achieved

Mukti Karva – Against Child Labor

Mukti Karva is the brainchild of eight children – aged between 8 and 20 – who were rescued as child laborers by an NGO called Bachpan Bachao Aandolan (BBA, Save the Childhood Mission) that works for protection of child rights across India. Mukti Karva – a mobile theater group – represents the never-say-die spirit of these children who are on a mission to generate awareness against child labor in India.

They don’t want other children to suffer as they had during the times they threaded fine embroidery, carved intricate designs on precious stones and worked as a domestic aide. Their dedication towards the noble cause becomes evident when you see them scripting and enacting an entire play. They send the message across through street plays and songs that narrate the stories of their abject past.

The 17-year-old Prashanto from West Bengal reflects on those tormenting days when he worked in a jewellery shop.  He says, “For days together, we wouldn’t get food and had to work without any breaks from dawn to midnight. I was fortunate to be rescued in May 2007 when a raid was conducted by BBA. Like me, 92 other children also got a new lease of life.” He returned to Bengal after that, only to return back to BBA later. He doesn’t lament his decision to return and adds, “I was put up in the Bal Ashram (child shelter), where I started learning to read and write and nurture my interest in acting. I met a few more boys who had similar interests. We decided to get together and formed the Mukti Karva.” 

Kamil – a 13-year-old member of the troupe – used to work as a household helper when he was rescued. With dreams to fly a plane, he washed dishes and wiped floors. “I want to be a pilot one day. It was my dream even when I was scrubbing pots and pans as a domestic worker. My owner neither gave me salary nor any chhutti (leave) to go home. I had come from UP (Uttar Pradesh) with a relative but instead of putting me in a school, they sent me to work in a house.”

Mukti Karva has travelled the lengths and breadths of the country and performed in every nook and corner of Bihar, West Bengal and UP. Naveen (20) from Rajasthan is the senior-most contributor to this noble cause. “We modify our plays to be able to connect with the people from a particular place. So if we are performing in Patna, we tell people the story of a child who belonged to Patna. Our acts are always based on true stories,” explains Naveen.

However, their journey was full of tribulations on way to Mukti Karva. The tormenting ordeal left them distressed when they were rescued. Counseling sessions were required in order to bring them out of their horrendous past and adopt education and some vocational skill as a mode of survival.  At the end, it was their grit and determination that became the driving force to help them reach where they are now.

Mukti Karva’s efforts have been hugely recognized in states like Bihar and UP where education is not given the topmost priority. These eight young guns are making a huge difference to society. Please join me to escort them to the podium as our ‘Star of the Day’.

4 Responses to “Mukti Karva – Against Child Labor”

  1. Hey JS! What a great story 🙂 We need more NGO and selfless people to help those children wherever they might be living. Thanks.

    • Exactly JP! Such heinous sin like thrusting children into labor is not to be taken lightly. It ruins their childhood and is like dumping the future. Children are our tomorrow and we need to provide them the the best of everything. Cheers…JS!

  2. It’s really sad to see kids who should ideally lead a happy life working as labourers…
    These eight youngsters are indeed making a huge difference to society. Wishin u guys the best…Thanx JS for this post!

    • Thx for visiting me Kasabiangirl (i don’t know your name). Indeed, child labour is a curse that plagues the Indian society and is a major cause of illiteracy in India. Despite stringent laws against it, child labour continues to be an open practice in India.

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