If you are reading this, you probably know something about child labour? But what images come to mind if we ask you to visualise children working?

You might think of children working at dhabas serving food, carrying loads of bricks on their heads at construction sites, picking leaves at cotton fields and tea estates, polishing shoes at Railway stations…and many other such images.

Child labour is hard to summarise into a single compelling image. Child labour is not just one single issue, rather a complex system of interconnected problems, that somehow finds a way to justify its existence when it isn’t your own child. It therefore becomes hard to understand a problem that isn’t yours, and when you haven’t experienced if first hand.

So how can one better understand why a child should be in school and not at a construction site, should be playing instead of cleaning toilets, should be reading and learning instead of picking tea leaves?

We believe comics can help us do that. No, not because child labour is a laughing matter. But because comics also offer a level of intimacy and emotional engagement that may be difficult to achieve with words, or inappropriate to capture on film.

Here are some comics that make you visualise child labour, the way it needs to be.

One’s play time, the other’s overtime?

Your dream house, their life doused?

Education lost, livelihood gained?

Toy deployed, aspirations destroyed?

Childhood lost, weighed the cost?  

Childhood dream, whipped into regime?

Born to fly. Myth or lie?

A child employed, a future destroyed?