Rescued Child Laborers Resume Education and Achieve Great Achievements in Life | News from Coimbatore

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Coimbatore: When the World Day Against Child Labor is celebrated every year on June 12, Rumesh, 38, looks back on his childhood, when he was forced to work to earn bread for his family.
Rumesh was a Class IV dropout when he emigrated from Salem in 2001 to work in a button shop in Coimbatore for a pittance. He says luck was on his side when volunteers from the National Child Labor Project (NCLP) enrolled him in the Special Training Center (STC) to resume his studies.
“At STC, I was taught the class V program. The supervision at the center was totally different compared to that of a school. After class V, I was enrolled in a regular school. After passing the SSLC, I got a diploma in textile technology,” Rumesh told TOI. He now works for a textile unit in Coimbatore as a quality controller.
N Naveenkumar from Coimbatore had to give up his dreams to pursue higher education when he was a student in class V. He was forced to sell idlis on the streets which his mother made.
“In 2008, I was integrated into education by enrolling in an STC. Going back to school became hassle-free as I was able to complete Class VII and then graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. I am now a final year student of Masters in Applied Mathematics with Computer Application at Bharathiar University,” the 25-year-old said. “I look forward to a successful career in the IT industry.”
A Ruby from Pillayarpuram also worked hard as a child laborer. The 33-year-old teaches rescued child laborers and is the mother of a seven-year-old boy. “The Union Government has subsumed the NCLP under Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). This decision must be reversed and the program must be continued to eradicate child labour,” she said.
NCLP volunteers rescued several children from mills, bakeries, restaurants and industrial units, a senior district administration official said. “They received an allowance to resume their studies. District law enforcement campaign data shows 14, five and 16 child laborers were rescued in 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 respectively.
On Sunday, Coimbatore collector GS Sameeran took part in a cycle rally to mark the day. “The penalty for employing children is a fine between 20,000 and 50,000,” he said.
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