Bhubaneswar:19/ 11/21:The Labour Directorate of Odisha in collaboration with UNICEF Odisha and Aid-et-Action organized a meeting to kick start a movement to eliminate child labour in Odisha.
The event was chaired by Dr N Thirumala Naik, IAS, Labour Commissioner, Odisha, Dr Monika Nielsen, Chief of field office, UNICEF Odisha, Ms Neha Naidu, Child Protection Specialist, Radhika Srivastava, Communication & Advocacy Specialist from UNICEF Odisha and Mr Umi Daniel, Director Migration Education, Aid-et-Action. District Labour Officers of Balasore, Ganjam, Khurdha, Cuttack and Rourkela along with representatives from CREDAI, brick kiln owners and stakeholders from both policy to implementation level shared their experience and opinion to eradicate child labour in the state.
The event commenced with a welcome address from UNICEF Communications Specialist Radhika Srivastava who introduced the concept and objective of the initiative.
Setting the context, Ms Neha Naidu, Child Protection SpecialistUNICEF said, “Child labour may rise, especially during this epidemic. Society has a mindset to accept child labour thinking that these children have to work because they are poor. Because of family circumstances, children drop out of school and start working. It is also inter-related with child marriage. The state of adolescence is the time children develop andaspire and if they start working at this time, it hinders their scope for development andmaximise their potential. Each one of us needs to come forward and prevent child labour.”
Speaking on the occasion, Dr N. Thirumala Naik, IAS, Labour Commissioner, Odisha said, “Education frees children from labour. When a child gets the opportunity to go to school, a world of opportunities opens up for them. We have heard of former child labourers going on to do their PhD in London. We have to work together to help communities understand the value of education and send their children to school and not to work. We all have a responsibility to not accept child labour around us and make every effort to help them.”
Highlighting how COVID 19 pushed more children into labour, Monika Nielsen, Chief UNICEF, Odisha said.
Mr Umi Daniel, Director of Migration Education, Aid-et-Action said, “Over the past nine to ten years, we have taken many steps to prevent child labour. We have identified more than 200 child labourers and have been able to educate them.
.Mr Sunil Kumar Sahu, Additional Labour Commissioner, Mr Pradeep Kumar Mohapatra, Joint Labour Commissioner, Mr Gouri Sankar Dash, Chairman, Odisha Assembly for Small Medium Enterprises (OASME), Mr Gopal Kar, State Convener, CACL and Mr Ranjan Kumar Mohanty, Secretary, PECUC also participated in the event.