Focus 2006

India - INK01-03-2006

Project: Centre for Social Action
Date of foundation: 1989
Place: Hospet, Karnataka, India
Province: Karnataka (INK)

Bellary District The Salesian presence began in 1982 with pastoral activities. The vocational training programme had its beginning in 1989. In response to the needs of the neighbourhood the Centre for Social Action took shape and became a focussed activity of the community. It reached out to the larger village community through programmes for women, youth groups and working children.

Child Labour in the mines has become a shocking reality in Hospet, Bellary and Sandur Taluks in Karnataka. The studies by published by various groups in the media at the beginning of this year has revealed the presence of more than hundred thousand children employed in mining activities in the Bellary District alone. The area of activity spans a distance of over 80 kilometres between Bellary to Sandur. These children are part of the many families who have migrated from villages far and near in search of work. The poverty in their villages caused either because of drought or excess rain has contributed to the migration. Most of this mining is illegal activity in the forest or agricultural lands that are occupied or leased out.

There has been interaction among the different NGOs in the Hospet areas to arrive at strategies and plans of action and each one has agreed to initiate actions in their own areas of operation. Don Bosco Hospet has acted at once by starting few camps in the locations where the entire families reside. In the same way other NGOs too have taken up activities according to their capacity.

Don Bosco Hospet, Emergency Interventions

Camp Schools: We have put up six temporary tents with bamboos and plastic sheets to give a little protection for children from sun and rain. This acts as a school and a hall. It gives protection in an open space to children of families that have migrated to the area. A small blackboard and a box with essential learning and teaching materials are provided.

The children keep all their learning equipment like simple slates and pencils, chalk, and booklets in the shed once class is over. There are also toys for them to recreate. A staff of members is responsible for contacting the children in their places of work, bringing them to camp schools, and contacting their families.

The initial response to this facility was slow but at present we have about 500 children who attend these classes. We are glad that they keep in touch with education and books though away from their own villages and schools.

Midday Meals: We have put pressure on the Department of Education, to provide midday meals for the children in these schools. This is a sign of recognition of the problem and a support for our interventions on their behalf. Arrangements have also been made for cooked food from the local schools nearby.

Medical Camps: On a regular basis medical camps are conducted for the people involved in mining activities. We arrange medical personnel such as doctors and nurses to assist in the programme. The camps are conducted in each area at regular intervals so that the people have immediate access to medical facilities.

Future Plan

While we address the issue and attend to the children locally within our capacity, we are networking with other NGOs to put pressure on the Government to respond. The Network of NGOs has to be spread to villages. Efforts are being taken to bring together other NGO networks involved in human rights, environment, women and child-labour issues so that the pressure on the Government to act would increase.

Our plan is to continue the intervention for child rehabilitation through bridge schools at the local level. Contemporaneously we wish to network with others to build up awareness and pressure on the Government. Our aim is to force them to take up speedy developmental and policy action so that the problems of this very complex situation are addressed.

  Jambunatha Road
Hospet - 583 201
Bellary District
Tel: + 91 8394265161
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