Govt Joins Hands With Unicef To Make Odisha Child Labour-Free

Bhubaneswar: In order to further strengthen its efforts to make Odisha child labour-free, the state government has joined hands with UNICEF and Aid-et-Action.

As part of this initiative, the Labour Directorate in collaboration with UNICEF Odisha and NGO Aid-et-Action organised a meeting, here on Friday.

Speaking at the meeting, Neha Naidu, Child Protection Specialist UNICEF said child labour may rise, especially during any epidemic. Because of family circumstances, children drop out of school and start working. It is also inter- related with child marriage. Everyone needs to come forward and prevent child labour.

Dr N Thirumala Naik, Labour Commissioner, said, “Education frees children from labour. When a child gets the opportunity to go to school, a world of opportunities open up for them. We have to work together to help communities understand the value of education and send their children to school and not to work.”

Highlighting how COVID 19 pushed more children into labour, Monika Nielsen, Chief UNICEF, Odisha said during the recent times, children have been deeply impacted by the pandemic and its knock-on effects. Schools have remained closed for far too  long and livelihoods have been severely disrupted, putting a large number of children at risk of being pushed into child labour.

“It is imperative to have a strong convergence across all measures that are taken to protect children. With support from the government and key departments, civil society organisations, the private sector and UNICEF can work together accelerate actions to eliminate child labour in Odisha,” Nielsen said.

Umi Daniel, Director Migration Education, Aid-et-Action said, “Odisha government has been coming forward with number of initiatives to prevent child labour. We need to work more in tandem with industry partners to ensure no child works with or without their parents in labour.”

Brick kiln owners present at the meeting said they were aware of the laws against child labour and were making every effort to send back children. A model code of conduct was discussed at the meeting to further enable the brick kiln owners to fight child labour.

Senior officers of different departments of the state government also participated in the discussion.

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