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Leading the Fight against Child Labour – The Cobble Traders Union

In less developed countries who are still fighting social battles, unions are an important part of society. Even though I understand the need for unions in developing countries like India, I was not entirely comfortable when I heard that the cobble traders of Budhpura had formed a union to support our project to create Child Labour Free Zones (CLFZ).

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It felt fishy. A group of cobble traders whose norm was child labour coming together to help eradicate something that had supported their family’s standard of living for generations.

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Creating Child Labour Free Zones in Budhpura. Real Progress

Anyone who has travelled to India for work or pleasure will be aware of the complex set of challenges the country faces as it strives to drag itself into the modern world, India is developing at break neck speed.  Unsurprisingly though in the country that boasts the world’s largest population, it’s not all progress and some people are getting left behind.

Manjari HQ in Budhpura. Open to everyone!

Some of the workers in stone supply chains are testament to this, especially in remote quarry areas and villages like Budhpura.  The communities in these areas face many challenges and in a country the size of India they are often overlooked and forgotten by the government, left to their own devices.  Many, of what we consider to be, fundamental rights are not available to these people, or if they are available they are difficult to obtain.  Health care, education and employment opportunities are limited and basic community institutions are often lacking.

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The Unsung Heroes Behind Child Labour Free Zones

So what about the roles that local people, from the community, play in the project?

Children group activity organised by Manjari

There is a perception that people living in the project areas are all victims.  Of course some will be victims, some will be much worse off than others but there are groups of people from the community who are at the front, driving this project forward, inspiring others, even if it’s just taking part with an open heart and mind.  Whatever their involvement, it is the local people who are making things happen here in Budhpura, we’re going to take a look at some of the stand out people, you could call them the unsung heroes.  I’ve met quite a few of them during my two recent visits to Budhpura.  Their stories are impressive and anyone looking for hope and inspiration should keep on reading, you’ll find it aplenty here.  During my recent visit to Budhpura I took a day out to spend some time in the local community, I wanted to get a feel for how the community were engaging with the project.  It turned out to be a remarkable day and as I visited homes, work sites and community areas it became obvious that certain people were fully engaged and playing leading roles in the project.

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The NGO playing a central role in eradicating Child Labour in Budhpura

Ok, so let’s address the issue of child labour – its easy right, we just need to convince the parents to send their children to school?  Wrong! If only it was that simple.

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Unfortunately, child labour is a complex issue and many factors contribute to its existence.  All the root causes are deeply ingrained into the functions of the community.  Poverty, lack of quality education and facilities, widowed families, industrial disease, alcoholism, domestic abuse, lack of medical treatment, lack of access to social benefits; all contribute towards the existence of child labour.

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Porcelain 40mm Bullnose Steps, a new first from London Stone

The Bullnose edge profile—so much more attractive than its name. It’s a must for classical settings, fits into contemporary designs, creates contour and shadow, and gives curved edges an extra sinuous quality.

40mm Bullnose Steps

No surprise, then, that a lot of our customers have been asking us for 40mm bullnose steps and coping stones in Porcelain. They are, after all, a standard in our industry, and nothing beats the quality look of that 40mm measurement. As you’ll know, though, the standard thickness for Porcelain used outdoors is 20mm.

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