Published: 17th May 2018
These former child labourers have aced the Class 12 boards, now nothing can stop them
26 students were rescued as child labourers from several industries by NCLP and appeared for Class XII examination
There sure must have been a phase in these kids' life, where they thought going to school was a mere dream. Their lives for a brief period was reduced to ashes as they once worked for the crackers, matches and printing industry. But, hold on, the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) made a difference in their thinking and lives. Ask how? nearly 26 students, who were rescued under the scheme this year and have now passed the Class XII examinations.
Speaking to Express, NCLP Project Director T Narayanasamy said that the 26 students were rescued as child labourers from several industries and appeared for Class XII examination in the district. "Three students R Priya, who was working for a cracker unit from home, secured 1068 marks; R Muthukumar, another boy who worked for cracker units from home scored 1011 marks and M Ramalakshmi secured 984 marks. These three students who worked from home for the allied units of firework industry are now the toppers in NCLP circle of Virudhunagar."
Narayanasamy further said that to help the students pursue higher education in colleges, the government under the Labour Department is distributing `500 per month to the students till they complete their higher education. Apart from this, several organisations including Udhavum Ullangal, a charitable trust based in Chennai is also helping students, who were put through the formal education by NCLP.
"In 2016-17, as many as 30 students passed the Class XII examination in Virudhunagar district. From 2006-07 to 2017-18, as many as 603 students have cleared their board examinations in the district," he added.
K Ramalakshmi, a teacher at Siruvar Poonga NCLP Special Training Centre at Thiruthangal near Sivakasi has been working with the NCLP since the last 20 years.
Having rescued close to 200 children, who were employed in different industries, Ramalakshmi recalls one girl she rescued in 2009. "Priya, daughter of Ravi and Lakshmi, along with her sister Mariswari worked from home. The two girls did not go to school as their father was ill and were in need of money to run the family. While I was on an inspection, I noticed Priya work from home. Initially her parents refused to send her to the special training centre, however, they accepted later. She was a bright child and showed great interest in studying."
Express gets in touch with Priya, who claimed that she was very happy with her results and now she plans to pursue her BA in History. "My father Ravi used to own an ironing cart and my mother works as a labourer in the fireworks industry. As I hail from an economically backward family, I started to work from home to support my family. But after I enrolled myself in the special training centre, I understood the importance of education and started to perform well," Priya shared.
Ramalakshmi also rescued her elder sister Mariswari, who completed her Class XII two years ago with 747 marks. "When I was put through the formal education under NCLP, I came to know that education is everything that a person needs to come up in life. Even though I was not able to pursue my higher education due to my family situation, I help my sisters in pursuing their higher education as it would later help to improve the economic status of my family," said Mariswari.
What does NCLP do?
The main aim of this scheme is to eradicate the practice of employing child labourers. The scheme was launched in 1986.
Under the NCLP scheme, children between nine and 12 in the district would be rescued from being employed and they would be enroled at the NCLP special training centres. Currently there are 21 centres in Virudhunagar district. Students, who finish their Class V at a NCLP training centres will be admitted to a regular school from Class VI.
The teachers at these centres will monitor students regularly to ensure they complete their school education. Apart from this, the teachers also help the students, who secure good marks in Class XII examination to pursue their higher education. The NCLP scheme now is reportedly changing the lives of several children in Virudhunagar.