Who is Kailash Satyarthi?
Childrens' rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, 60, has worked to end the chronic practice of child labor for nearly three decades. An engineer by training, Satyarthi is from Vidisha, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. He began working for the rights of children when he was 26.
What is his contribution as an activist?
Satyarthi’s Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save Childhood Movement), formed in 1983, has rescued nearly 80,000 children from illegal and hazardous work across India over the years. The children have been rescued from the construction and carpet industries, bangle and firecracker production, brick-kilns, restaurants and child trafficking networks and bondage.
What has been the big highlight of his struggle?
Satyarthi led the Global March Against Child Labor in 1998, when children rescued from illegal work marched through 60 countries and reached Geneva.
How has he advocated for children in the carpet industry?
In the mid 1990s, he raided many carpet looms in eastern India that hired child laborers and exported carpets abroad. He worked to develop a self-certification label for South Asian carpets meant for exports to signal that they are free of child labor. Back in 1994, it was called Rugmark; now it's known as Good Weave.
What challenges has he faced?
In the 1990s, when he worked to clean up the carpet industry, he was accused of working against Indian interests and showing India in a bad light.
What are some of his recent campaigns?
Satyarthi and his group played a key role in bringing about the Right to Education law, which mandates free education to Indian children. He has also worked for stricter laws against child trafficking. His group also campaigned to include trafficking in the anti-rape law enacted in recent years.
What awards has Satyarthi won?
The awards include Defenders of Democracy (United States, 2009), Fredric Ebert International Human Rights Award (Germany), Robert F Kennedy International Human Rights Award (United States, 1995), Alfonso Comin International Award (Spain, 2008) and recognition on the list of "Heroes Acting to End Modern Day Slavery" by the U.S. State Department (2007).
Is he the first Indian to win a Nobel?
Satyarthi is the first Indian to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Mother Teresa won the peace prize in 1979 for her India-based charity work, but she was a native Albanian.