Away from pens, books, and classrooms;
away from friends, play, and innocence;
very much away from a regular childhood.
You may have seen him bringing you tea after office hours, you may have seen her selling pens at the traffic signal, or you may have seen him washing dishes at a roadside dhaba.
The World Day Against Child Labour recognizes him, her, and millions of other children like them. On other days, we take in the sight of a child laboring at a construction site, as a norm. This day, however, aims to shatter that image. This day aims to educate the masses on the life-long crippling effects of child labour, and mobilize political will and resources to address this social evil.
The Covid-19 pandemic has plunged millions of vulnerable children into the clutches of child labour, and with the advent of the second wave in India, child labour is at an unprecedented rise. This World Day Against Child Labour, June 12th, we present a collection of short films that capture myriad stories of child labourers—stories of a day in their life, stories of their dreams, stories of lost childhoods.
KAVI, written and directed by Gregg Helvey, is an Oscar-nominated short film about a young boy in India who wants to play cricket and go to school but is forced to make bricks as a modern-day slave, instead.
In addition to playing at 100+ film festivals around the world, KAVI has been used as an advocacy tool by many anti-slavery organizations to raise awareness and funds. KAVI was also used in the California Senate to help pass The Transparency in Supply Chains Bill (SB657) for Anti-Slavery & Human Trafficking.
This thought-provoking film is about Bholu, a 12-year-old boy who had to quit school and work in a hotel to support his disabled parents. One day, the owner of the hotel, Rahim chacha, is about to get arrested for employing an underage child. However, the officers are met with an unexpected situation. More than awareness, this film makes you question the very definition of child labour.
A young Chotu works in a garage. Ironically, the garage owner’s son is just as old as Chotu. From snatching Chotu’s tips from him and giving them to his son, what changes the owner? What makes him question the inequality? This 3-minute short film holds the answer to that.
4. AFTER SCHOOL
This short film shines a spotlight on a very pertinent scenario, what a child does after school.
Do all children go back home to a warm lunch and a playground? Or do some of them head to a hotel to wipe tables?
5. TRAFFIC SIGNAL
Based on a poem by Muskan Asthana, this short film is a tale of a young boy for whom buying a 10-rupee shoelace for his sister is a real struggle. He makes many sacrifices, beyond what is expected, of his age, whether it is sacrificing a piece of roti for his mother, or letting go of his favourite ice cream.
The film aims to inspire people in doing their bit to give wings to some of these children’s dreams.