About Brick Kilns

At a rate of 600 bricks a day, working 6‐days a week, 13‐year‐old Beena’s annual brick production is an easy calculation. Calculating the cost to Beena, however, is much more difficult, as the cost of child labour is paid over a lifetime through the loss of health, education and opportunities.

Over 12 million children in India work in hazardous labour- the largest number of child labourers under 14 years of old of any country in the world. One of the top three industries in which employ children is brick making. Between 10 to15 million people work in 100,000 brick kilns, many of whom are children. 65 % of brick kilns are found in the northern Indo- Gangetic plains- in states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal – with each brick kiln employing up to 150 skilled and unskilled workers for an average of 7 to 9 months of the year.

A sizable portion of such labour force working in the brick kilns belong to the community of seasonal migrants who come to work in the kilns each year. Distress seasonal migration is a regular feature in various regions of India. Drought and lack of work in villages force entire families to migrate for several months every year in search of work merely to survive. Children accompany their parents – compromising their education, safety and childhood. Children also provide support as non paid assistants to the families. They work along with their families for long hours in extremely hazardous conditions. When they do not work they are engaged in household chores or looking after their younger siblings.  Girls additionally are vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation. Migrant labourers comprise the most vulnerable sections of society, and especially those that also belong to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe groups. As an outcome of seasonal migration children drop out of schools and are deprived of education opportunities or vocational skills which can enhance their circumstances. The older children who work are counted as independent workers and not helpers to the family gradually get into the trade.

Narayantala Mass Communication Society with support of its partner agencies envisages ensuring immediate access and retention of working children to quality elementary education, to provide early childhood care and development and ensure protection of children from abuse, harm and exploitation in brick kilns.  The organization facilitates linking of health and educational services provided by the government  for the labour community if the kilns. It supports pre vocational livelihood training for vulnerable adolescents – thereby helping them to be self reliant and free from the exploitations in the kilns.

 

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