17-yr-old rescued child labourer from Bengaluru slum addresses Parliament
Bengaluru: A 17-year-old girl, born in a slum in Bengaluru spent her early age as child labour. Now, being rescued by an NGO, she fights for child rights and was one among 30 children selected by UNICEF from the globe to speak on child labour in the Parliament.
Kanaka, at present a first-year student at a private institution in Bengaluru, is one among the 30 children from all over the world to have been selected by UNICEF to talk in the Parliament for 8 minutes about child labour and her experience as a child labourer to mark the Universal Children’s Day.
Addressing the Parliament here in New Delhi on November 20, Kanaka started her speech with “Namaskara.” Then she read out a Kannada poem “Naavu makkalu Naavu geleyaru…” She later, spoke on issues including child trafficking and child abuse.
Requesting the elected representatives to ensure child rights and safety, Kanaka shared one of her friend’s experience as child labourer and said, “I tried to portray the plight of girls in the country. I suffered as a child labourer and after losing my mother, I had to face mental and emotional abuse. I could not enjoy my childhood. I shared this during my address so that other children do not meet the same fate.”
Unfortunately, she expressed displeasure as no Karnataka MP was present at the Parliament when she addressed the parliamentarians on child labour on the occasion of Universal Children’s Day
Kanaka spent her 12 years as child labourer. Her father is bedridden due to a physical disability and her mother is diagnosed with cancer. She was forced to work as a domestic help by her relatives and also subjected to abuse and harassment. It was in 2011, when she was rescued by an NGO called “SPARSHA” which works against child labour.