All children in school, child labor free Bhavnagar!

May and June is the most exciting time for children in India – summer vacation! I am sure you all remember this joyful time, when after months of studying you could finally forget about your books and homework… it’s the time to play with your friends and to enjoy life… every child deserves times like these! However, for children living in slums such as the ones where Shaishav operates, the realities of summer vacation differ. Summer vacation becomes time when these children take on financial responsibilities, engaging in child labor to support their family. Frequently, after the family and child see the short-term financial benefits of this added income, children do not return to school. Child labor deprives children from their basic rights to education and play (as found in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child), and limits prospects of social and economic mobility.

children learning to play lazem

children learning to play lazem

Since 1995, aiming to reduce the number of children engaging in labor over summer vacation, Shaishav organizes “vacation camp” for children to engage them in fun development and life skills activities. These camps target “at risk” children, and are complimented by enrolment drives to enroll children back into school. This year, from May 11th to June 9th, about 300 children participate in vacation camp. Children engaged in various educational and leisure activities: outdoors sports, yoga, cooking classes, playing music, etc. They went to park and beach, participated in various life skills activities and listened to lectures on children rights. On the last day of the camp, children organized a closing ceremony, full of music, dance and laughter!

Children performing at closing ceremony

Children performing at closing ceremony

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Children always enjoy vacation camp and happily participate every year. Last year we successfully enrolled 584 children to school and prevented them from entering child labor; we have motivated 25 child laborers to continue education and 21 child labor do vocational training. This year Shaishav’s team hopes to beat these numbers, ensuring more children have access to quality education.DSC_0176

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