One of the things that inspires me most to do something to help others is to interact with or learn about others that are giving their lives to an important cause. Two of those people earned an amazing and well-deserved honor this morning. Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Ms. Yousafzay’s work is astounding to me. I read her book, I Am Malala, in a matter of days and she has been someone I have admired for a long time. I met a friend of hers, Khalida Brohi, founder of Sughar, and that meeting stands out as a highlight of my college years. However, virtually all news coverage I have heard or read of the Nobel Peace Prize this year features Ms. Yousafzay and only marginally mentions Kailash Satyarthi- another astounding individual. So, I want to take the opportunity to profile him and his amazing work fighting child slavery in India.
I was going to try to write something on him, but the biography on his website says it so much better:
Kailash Satyarthi (born on January 11, 1954) is a human rights activist from India who has been at the forefront of the global movement to end child slavery and exploitative child labor since 1980 when he gave up a lucrative career as an Electrical Engineer for initiating crusade against Child Servitude. As a grassroots activist, he has led the rescue of over 78,500 child slaves and developed a successful model for their education and rehabilitation. As a worldwide campaigner, he has been the architect of the single largest civil society network for the most exploited children, the Global March Against Child Labor,which is a worldwide coalition of NGOs, Teachers’ Union and Trade Unions.
As an analytical thinker, he made the issue of child labor a human rights issue, not a welfare matter or a charitable cause. He has established that child labor is responsible for the perpetuation of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, population explosion and many other social evils. He has also played an important role in linking the fight against child labor with the efforts for achieving ‘Education for All’.
Mr. Satyarthi is a member of a High Level Group formed by UNESCO on Education for All comprising of select Presidents, Prime Ministers and UN Agency Heads. As one of the rare civil society leaders he has addressed the United Nations General Assembly, International Labour Conference, UN Human Rights Commission, UNESCO, etc and has been invited to several Parliamentary Hearings and Committees in USA, Germany and UK in the recent past.
As an advocate for quality and meaning ful education, Mr. Kailash Satyarthi has addressed some of the biggest worldwide congregations of Workers and Teachers Congresses, Christian Assembly, Students Conferences, etc. as a keynote speaker on the issue of child labour and education.
He is on the Board and Committee of several International Organizations. Amongst all the prominent ones being in the Center for Victims of Torture (USA), International Labor Rights Fund (USA), etc. Mr. Satyarthi is an executive Board Member of International Cocoa Foundation with the Headquarters in Geneva representing the global civil society.
He has survived numerous attacks on his life during his crusade to end child labour, the most recent being the attack on him and his colleagues while rescuing child slaves from garment sweatshops in Delhi on 17 March 2011. Earlier in 2004 while rescuing children from the clutches of a local circus mafia and the owner of Great Roman Circus, Mr. Satyarthi and his colleagues were brutally attacked. Despite of these attacks and his office being ransacked by anti social elements a number of times in the past his commitment to stand tall for the cause of child slaves has been unwavering.
For more information about this amazing man and how you can become involved in his fight to end child slavery, see his website
Have a wonderful week, and please be inspired by these wonderful people to make a difference in someone’s life today.