30 x 30 cm
oil on canvas
Manan grew up in the mica mining area of Jarkhand. From age 7 he worked in the mine from 10am until 7pm. On a good day he could earn 35 rupees (35p). When he was aged 11 a BBA activist asked him why he was not at school. He replied that no one in his village went to school. His parents agreed for him to go to Bal Ashram. He quickly excelled academically and was chosen to speak at the UN International Labour Organisation Conference in Geneva. BBA has since instigated a government school in his village.
I ask Manan how he responds to people who say that children have to work to stop their families starving. He replies, “50 million children are involved in child labour and a similar number of adults are unemployed.
Children are paid much less, work much longer hours. The unemployment problem could be solved and families support themselves properly if children don’t work. Every child in the whole world should have education, food, play and love. Children are the future so every child should have an education. If you see any child working you should send them to school.”