Child Labour Awareness Campaign by Smile Foundation

We at Smile Foundation organized an online awareness campaign for child labour. The purpose of this campaign was to distract the thoughts of children from the horrifying news and images that are all around us these days while spreading awareness about the issue.

In the midst of the surging second wave of Covid-19, schools that had started to reopen had to shut down once again. This left students feeling quite distressed and disheartened. They were unable to physically meet their friends and teachers as the second wave sent them into another round of lockdown. The campaign helped many children engage proactively in something creative and thoughtful.

Awareness campaign for child labour

The Child for Child team of Smile Foundation built an online awareness competition titled “A Child is Meant to Learn, Not to Earn”. This included a painting and an essay writing competition. The aim was to keep children busy with art and creative writing. We felt that this would contribute hugely towards their mental well-being and keep them distracted as they worked on their entries for the competition.

We got everyone involved!

Over a hundred schools from across the country participated. We also got to know that parents and grandparents actually guided their wards, spent substantial time doing online research, and then helped the child put together the final poster or the essay that eventually reached us digitally.

painting on child labour, competition by Smile Foundation

Eco-friendly prizes from For Earth’s Sake Cafe

The cause of child labour is so heartfelt that we even got a gift sponsor for the winners. A zero-waste café from Gurugram named For Earth’s Sake Café sponsored the gifts for the winners in each category—eco-friendly notebooks with covers that have seeds in them and can be planted in soil. Children can put it in soil, water it, and see a plant grow from the cover page of a notebook!

Painting and essay writing on child labour

It was a tall task to choose the top few from amongst the remarkable submissions in each category. The paintings that we received reflected the pain felt by children whenever they saw a child labourer at a roadside dhaba or working in the fields. The essays spoke volumes about how India has one of the highest numbers of child labourers in the world. They also talked about the intensive work that NGOs like Smile Foundation are doing to prevent and to rehabilitate the victims of child labour.

The messages across all essays and paintings revolved around poverty being one of the main causes for this, how education of underprivileged children is essential, and how society should get involved and bring about a civic-driven change to get rid of this deep-rooted malaise.

Our jury

We are extremely grateful to our august jury panel for deciding upon the winners for our child labour campaign. For the painting competition Ms. Parul Bali, an esteemed artist who also manages a beautiful digital gallery, was our juror.

For the essay competition, the judge was Ms. Nirupama Subramanian, an established author who has multiple publications and also conducts leadership workshops for organizations. They had to each screen over 300 shortlisted entries and were overwhelmed by the beautiful submissions by children

painting on child labour, competition by Smile Foundation
One of the paintings that won

Winners of Painting Competition:

Category A (Grades 5, 6, and 7)

1st – Himasri Roy, Grade VI of Sarala Birla Gyan Jyoti, Guwahati

2nd – Trisha P. Iyer, Grade VI of Vikhe Patil Memorial School, Lohegaon

3rd– Aryan Jain, Grade V of BCM Sr. Sec. School, Ludhiana

Special Mention – Shraddha S. Sur, Grade VII of Gujarat Refinery English Medium School, Vadodara

Category B (Grades 8, 9, and 11)

1st – Manya Sagar, Grade IX of Mother’s Global School, Delhi

2nd –Devika Santhosh, Grade XI of St. Thomas School, Indirapuram

3rd – Prabhjot, Grade VIII of Swami Sant Dass Public School, Jalandhar

Special Mention – Arushi Saini, Grade IX of Bhawan Vidyalaya, Sec. 15, Mohali.

Winners of Essay Writing Competition:

Category A (Grades 5, 6, and 7)

1st – Saksham Sabharwal, Grade VII of Swami Sant Dass Public School, Jalandhar

2nd – Heeral Agarwal, Grade VII of Sarala Birla Gyan Jyoti, Guwahati

3rd – Lehar Jain, Grade V of Sarala Birla Gyan Jyoti, Guwahati

4th – Komal, Grade VI of Swami Sant Dass Public School, Jalandhar

Special Mention – Tabassum, Grade VII of Ekalavya School Kasthuri Trust ME Center, Bengaluru

Category B (Grades 8, 9, and 11)

1st – Roshni Bharadwaj, Grade VIII of Sarala Birla Gyan Jyoti, Guwahati

2nd – Eshaan Lokesh, Grade VIII of Primus Public School, Bengaluru

3rd – Aparan, Grade IX of Swami Sant Dass Public School, Jalandhar

4th – Bala Roshni B., Grade XI of Vana Vani M.H.S. School, Chennai

Special Mention – Apurba Rattan Poddar, Grade VIII of Rama Krishna Sarada Vidya Mandir, Katihar

Seeing students embracing their creative side in these unprecedented times fosters the mental well-being of not just the individual but also of those who are working with them to put together the final output and those who are viewing the paintings and reading the essays. We wish all the schools, teachers, and parents who motivated the participants our heartfelt good wishes. And to the winners, many many congratulations!

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Monica Mor

Monica has been an educationist for almost 16 of her 19 years of work experience. Her past 4 years has been in the Non profit sector, working with youth as a part of Haryana Skill Development Mission and also with an NGO called Concern India Foundation. She is currently leading the Child for Child program, one of the flagship programs of Smile Foundation. She loves to spend time as a counsellor for youth & children and is involved in many outreach activities for school children, pan India.

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