Must-Watch Animated Films That Inspire Action Against Child Labour – Railway Children India

Must-Watch Animated Films That Inspire Action Against Child Labour

Illustration by Olivia Newsome

Animated movies are a phenomenal gateway to entertainment and education. Yes, education! Whether it was the outstanding alliance of a rat and a kitchen help in Ratatouille or the fantastic revelation of the workings of our mind in Inside Out, animated movies present awe-inspiring insight into myriad topics, leaving every audience member stirred, exhilarated, motivated and elated in some way or the other.

Using the creative and educational prowess of animated movies, adults and children alike can acquaint themselves with child labour. The complex subject is captured with amazing dexterity in these poignant animated movies, which promise to leave you with sufficient food for thought. Here’s your cue to Click. Watch. Learn. Repeat.

1. Child Labour = Battered Economy: An Explainer

Did you know that increasing child labour is one of the reasons why India’s diligent taxpayer is being burdened?
Did you know that child labour is a one of the causes for increasing unemployment in the country?

Beginning with a stifling scenario, where the viewer is asked to imagine their children being snatched away from the playground and forced into working at a hazardous factory, this animated video not only rattles one emotionally but also puts into perspective the economic barriers that stem from this social evil. Conveying a hitherto unexplored message of the relation between child labour and India’s economic issues, this video is a must-watch for all.

2. 1098 for Every Child in Distress

What happens when a young boy stumbles upon a construction site, where he witnesses children not much older than him plying heavy bricks over their heads and sweating it out, not in play but in labour?

A young Roshan meets a teenage Ajay who is brainwashed by his contractor into believing that education is a waste, and “experience counts.” It is only when Roshan plans to implement this lesson in his life, when his mother interrupts and reminds him, “At your age, education counts, not experience. This prompts Roshan to dial 1098 and save Ajay and his friends from a life in labour.

3. Put a Break, End the Cycle of Poverty, Educate a Child

Luggage replaces books, and work replaces studies. But what happens when this continues generation after generation?

This short yet poignant film carries an important lesson—hit breaks on the cycle of exploitation, enrol children in school and give wings to their dreams.
A boy is first delivered his fate when the books from his hands are replaced with tools. He grows old into a man and older into a grand dad, yet the burden of labour never leaves him. He passes it on to his son, who too carries it right up to his senior years, but when it comes to passing the baton to his grandson, he pauses. He brings the cycle of poverty to a screeching halt, by replacing the burden with books this time.

4. The Harsh Truth Belying Fast Fashion

A rosy picture greets you, with a duo lost deeply in each other’s eyes. What conspires then that leads to the girl stomping out of the proposal?

The answer lies in the tag stitched on the back of the boy’s t-shirt, which reveals his purchase from a brand who’s notorious for employing children in their factories. This video is a lesson for consumers for them to check the brand’s background before they make it their go-to source of fashionable apparel.

5. Chhena Hua Bachpan—A Stolen Childhood

A teenage girl is sitting under a tree on a cold night, shivering due to the lack of a warm cover. Her neighbour spots her, asks her questions about her well-being, and calls the police. What happens next? Who is this girl?

A few months ago, the girl’s mother had informed her that she would have to be sent away to the city as her father was under crushing debt. The girl was confused about what this meant for her, but she obeyed her parents anyway. As she sat in the storeroom of this new family, she was filled with fear. Washing their clothes would remind her of her mother’s soothing fragrance. Attending the door would make her leap in joy, imagining her parents are here to get her. She fights this life somehow, sees it through a court battle with the help of her neighbour and an organization. As she plays with her friends in the shelter’s playground, she feels safe.

A part of a four-film series, this animated short story is explores trafficking through the eyes of children working as domestic labourers.

6. Exploring the Dark History of Child Chimney Sweepers

Screened at numerous film festivals globally, this movie turns the famous good luck symbol of little chimneysweepers upside down. Here’s how.

Director/animator Frédéric Schuld found inspiration in his childhood, when a bird fell down his grandparent’s fireplace. It took some research on the systemic abuse of the 19th-century children who were tasked at sweeping chimneys, before this dark animated movie was screened to the world. A reminder about how abuse and exploitation going back several years, this outstanding movie is unmissable.

7. Simply, Extend a Helping a Hand

You see a child slogging in hard labour. You realize he is at a hazardous place at a wrong time. You’re not aware of what you can or cannot do. All you need is this one short film to guide you.

Tired after a long day of serving cups of tea, mending shoes, painting vehicles, a young boy stumbles onto the road. His spirit battered, hope having left his being, he looks up to see the shadow that appeared above him. It was a hand—an extended helping hand.

While each of the aforementioned movies offers a unique message, the sole lesson of merely extending a helping hand if in doubt forms the essence of each of these films. For if the life of even a single child is saved from the trappings of child labour, it brings a halt to his/her future generation continuing the cycle.

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