137 x 152 cm
oil on canvas
founder of BBA, Kailash Satyarthi, is an extraordinary
man whose social conscience has directed his whole life.
was an unusually perceptive child and, at the age of 5 on his first day
at school, he was confused to see a boy his age sitting outside the
school with his father, mending and polishing shoes. When Kailash asked
his headmaster why the boy was not in school the reply was, ‘because
he’s poor’. He also asked the boy’s father, who replied ‘Big
sir, I have never thought of it. We are born to work.’ Even at this
young age Kailash knew he was born to be a ‘big person’ – an
engineer, doctor or professor. Now he realised that even the poor did
not question their inevitable poverty. In India the surname you are born
with can dictate your life’s path because of the caste system.
boy stayed in Kailash’s mind throughout his childhood. Years later
when he was studying electrical engineering at university the inequality
still haunted him and he decided to give up his family name which
indicated his caste and took the name ‘Satyarthi’ which means
‘seeker of truth’. Now no-one can judge his status by his name.
the age of 26 he gave up a promising career as an engineer and dedicated
his life to eliminating child labour and exploitation and promoting
education as the most effective way out of poverty. Regularly risking
his own life and enduring many beatings he has rescued children, and
sometimes whole families, from armed and angry factory owners.
actions have led to the rescue of 80,000 children from child labour,
international pressure on the government and changes in the law
governing child employment.
maintains that with 50 million child labourers in India and 60 million
unemployed adults, the ending of child labour could transform the
fortunes of the country.