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Kailash in 2015
11 January 1954
|Known for||Activism for children's rights and children's education|
|Children||Asmita Satyarthi (daughter), Bhuwan Ribhu (son)|
|Awards||The Aachener International Peace Prize, Germany (1994)|
The Trumpeter Award (1995)
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award (1995)
De Golden Wimpel Award (1998)
La Hospitalet Award (1999)
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Award (1999)
Heroes acting to End Modern Day Slavery by US State Department (2007)
Alfonso Comin International Award (2008)
Medal of the Italian Senate (2007)
Defenders of Democracy Award (2009)
Nobel Peace Prize (2014)
Harvard Humanitarian Award (2015)
Kailash Satyarthi (born Kailash Sharma; 11 January 1954) is an Indian children's rights activist. He is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (lit. Save Childhood Movement), the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, Global March Against Child Labour, and GoodWeave International.
To date, Kailash Satyarthi and his team at Bachpan Bachao Andolan have liberated more than 87,000 children in India from child labour, slavery and trafficking. In 1998, Satyarthi conceived and led the Global March against Child Labour, an 80,000 km-long march across 103 countries to put forth a global demand against child labour. The movement became one of the largest social movements ever on behalf of exploited children. The demands of the marchers, which included children and youth, were reflected in the draft of the ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour. The following year, the Convention was unanimously adopted at the ILO Conference in Geneva.
Kailash Satyarthi has been a member of a UNESCO body established with the goal of providing “Education for All” and has been on the board of the Fast Track Initiative (now known as the Global Partnership for Education). Satyarthi serves on the board and committee of several international organisations including the Center for Victims of Torture (USA), the International Labor Rights Fund (USA), and the International Cocoa Foundation.
Satyarthi was among Fortune magazine’s ‘World’s Greatest Leaders’ in 2015 and featured in LinkedIn’s Power Profiles List in 2017 & 2018. His work has been recognized through various national and international honours and awards including the Nobel Peace Prize of 2014, which he shared with Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan.
Kailash Satyarthi was born as Kailash Sharma, on 11 January 1954, in Vidisha, a small town in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh in a middle class family. Satyarthi was the second child and had an elder brother. His father was a police constable (he retired subsequently as a Head Constable) and his mother was an uneducated, yet highly idealistic housewife. As per Satyarthi, this exceptionally idealistic and helpful nature of his mother had a big impact on him. He grew in a locality (mohalla) which had Hindus and Muslims living amicably with each other, with a Hindu temple on one side and a Masjid on the other. As a four year old toddler, he first learnt to read Urdu from the maulvi at the neighburing mosque and subsequently learnt Hindi and English in school.
Satyarthi recounts having questioned the discrimination he noticed in society from an early age. On his first day at school, he noticed a cobbler's son outside the school watching Satyarthi and his friends entering the school. On entering the classroom, Satyarthi's first question to his teacher was why the cobbler's son was not coming to school with them. The teacher answered that this was normal, and poorer people's children usually work and do not go to school. Satyarthi was not satisfied with this reply and asked the principal, family members and other elders, all through receiving the same "this is normal" response. Dissatisfied with their answers, Satyarthi mustered courage and asked the cobbler ten days later why he did not admit his child in school. The cobbler answered resignedly that he and his children were born to work and not to go to schools. This made a big impact on Satyarthi, as he noticed the deep injustice and discrimination inbuilt in society.
Satyarthi further recounts that he noticed that his and his friends school books usually went waste after they passed their exams. One April, on the day results were announced, he and a friend used the money they had been given to buy sweets, to instead rent a four wheeled handcart. The two of them went to nearby localities, asking children and students to donate their books, to be used by poorer children whose parents could not afford them. This led to him setting up a small library and was his first social activity.
Satyarthi describes this as the first time he questioned why some children are born to work “at the cost of their childhood and freedom and education and dreams” due to the circumstances of their birth.
He attended Government Boys Higher Secondary School in Vidhisha, and completed his degree in electrical engineering at Samrat Ashok Technological Institute, Vidisha and a post-graduate degree in high-voltage engineering. He then joined a college in Bhopal as a lecturer for a few years.
In 1980, Kailash Sathyarthi gave up his career as an electrical engineer and became secretary general for the Bonded Labor Liberation Front; he also founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save Childhood Movement) that year. He conceived and led the Global March Against Child Labor and its international advocacy body, the International Center on Child Labor and Education (ICCLE), which are worldwide coalitions of NGOs, teachers and trades unionists. He has also served as the President of the Global Campaign for Education, from its inception in 1999 to 2011, having been one of its four founders alongside ActionAid, Oxfam and Education International.
In addition, he established GoodWeave International (formerly known as Rugmark) as the first voluntary labelling, monitoring and certification system of rugs manufactured without the use of child-labour in South Asia. This latter organisation operated a campaign in Europe and the United States in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the intent of raising consumer awareness of the issues relating to the accountability of global corporations with regard to socially responsible consumerism and trade. Satyarthi has highlighted child labor as a human rights issue as well as a welfare matter and charitable cause. He has argued that it perpetuates poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, population growth, and other social problems, and his claims have been supported by several studies. He has also had a role in linking the movement against child labour with efforts for achieving "Education for All". He has been a member of a UNESCO body established to examine this and has been on the board of the Fast Track Initiative (now known as the Global Partnership for Education). Satyarthi serves on the board and committee of several international organisations including the Center for Victims of Torture (USA), the International Labor Rights Fund (USA), and the International Cocoa Foundation. He is now reportedly working on bringing child labour and slavery into the post-2015 development agenda for the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals.
Satyarthi, along with Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education". Satyarthi is the fifth Nobel Prize laureate for India and the second Indian laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize after Mother Teresa in 1979.
Kailash Satyarthi supported "Save the Girl Child" initiative by Sunita Dube, Chairperson of MedScape India and discussed the possible actions with Yogesh Dube, Child Rights Commission member for betterment of women and children, specifically their health and well being.
The Bharat Yatra, was launched by KSCF to spread awareness about child trafficking and sexual abuse. Launched in Kanyakumari on September 11, 2017 by Kailash Satyarthi, this campaign marched through seven routes covering 22 Indian states and Union Territories, and over 12,000 km. The campaign was aimed at starting a social dialogue about child sexual abuse and child trafficking, hitherto taboo issues in India, in order to protect children vulnerable within their homes, communities, schools.The campaign collaborated with 5,000 civil society organisations, more than 60 Indian faith leaders, 500 Indian political leaders, 600 local, state and national bodies of the Indian government, 300 members of the Indian judiciary, and 25,000 educational institutions across India.
Bharat Yatra saw the participation of more than 1,200,000 marchers over 35 days.
Satyarthi has been the subject of a number of documentaries, television series, talk shows, advocacy and awareness films. In September 2017 India Times listed Satyarthi as one of the 11 Human Rights Activists Whose Life Mission Is To Provide Others With A Dignified Life Satyarthi has been awarded the following national and international honours:
Satyarthi was interviewed by a number of media channels in India after the Nobel Peace prize was announced. This again brought to the forefront the discussion of illegalization of child labor. Children in India had already reduced buying fire crackers for Diwali after a sustained movement had highlighted the high use of child labour in fireworks factories of Sivakasi. The India legal system had only recently made it illegal to employ any child below the age of 14.
arr Quila area of the town. […] locals were seen drawing affiliation to institutions linked to Satyarhti including his schools – Toppura Primary School, Pedi school and Government Boys Higher Secondary School and Samrat Ashok Technological Institute (SATI) from where Satyarthi graduated in Electrical Engineering and later taught there for two years before embarking his journey to serve humanity.
Mr Kailash Satyarthi has come a long way since his engineering days at Samrat Ashok Technological Institute, Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, literally. My father, who was one year senior to this electrical engineering student, vividly remembers him […] who would come to the college in his staple kurta-payjama with a muffler tied around his neck.
He was born and brought up in Chhoti Haweli in Andar Quila area of the town. […] locals were seen drawing affiliation to institutions linked to Satyarhti including his schools – Toppura Primary School, Pedi school and Government Boys Higher Secondary School and Samrat Ashok Technological Institute (SATI) from where Satyarthi graduated in Electrical Engineering and later taught there for two years before embarking his journey to serve humanity.
Acting on emotional appeals from activists will do more harm than good for children in poverty
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|Awards and achievements|
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
| Laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize
With: Malala Yousafzai
Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet