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Schools for Migrant labor children - 13 Mar 2010


Aide et Action South Asia has initiated 20 schools in Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu covering more than 1000 children. In Gujarat Aide et Action is in the process of initiating 15 schools for children of migrant labour of Chattisgarh. As per the Aide et Action study, in Western Orissa around 47 percent belong to scheduled tribes and over 30 percent work force constitute children. AEA has initiated five schools today covering 278 children who are out of school. Teachers drawn from Orissa will teach students in Oriya language and teaching material is procured from Sarva Siksha Abhiyan Orissa. The locations include Kazipet, Doli thanda, Malyala, Solipet, Chikatimamidi road side, Chikatimamidi, Lakka Thanda and Laxmi Thanda to begin with.

While inaugurating the Bridge Schools, Mr.Madhu Sudhan State Project Coordinator for Rajiv Vidya Mission (SSA) Andhra Pradesh said, “it is time that all marginalized children go to school and there are efforts to set up State level task force to address issues related to Migrant labor communities”. SS Jaideep, the Regional Manager Aide et Action said that migrant labour children are completely invisible and children in particular miss out on education. In a telephonic conversation, Umi Daniel, Thematic Head Migration expressed surprise at the non inclusion of brick kiln workers in Building and other Construction Workers Act 1996 as they hugely contribute to economy. For example an estimated Rs. 50000 Crore worth of construction activity takes place in the city like Hyderabad and it is unfortunate that the Government of AP is  only able to collect Rs.150 Crore as 1% cess for the welfare of construction workers.  

Kesunath Patel a migrant labor from Jharia village from Bolangir district said, “though there are job cards provided under NREGA but we never got work in last three years, so we came this year to work in Kilns”. Jharani, who is pregnant said, that local anganwadis should provide support to migrant communities in addressing nutritional needs of lactating mothers and young infants.

As part of current intervention Aide et Action will mobilize mid day meal scheme for children, profile database of migrants in the area, link with  various local government schemes meant for poorer sections and reduce occupational related vulnerabilities through proactive engagement of kiln owners. The intervention envisages enrolling children in regular schools in source area once they go back after seasonal work. 
Migrant Brick kiln workers who are usually semi-skilled are one of most exploited, un-organised and un-regulated labour forces in India. According to few studies, there are around 50,000 brick kilns operating in the country, employing around five lakh workers (the figures may be much higher then what has been indicated). The National Commission on Rural Labour (1991) estimates that more than 10 million rural migrants work in brick kilns. The brick kilns of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamilnadu employ thousands of seasonally migrating laborers numbering more than 10,00,000, mostly drawn particularly from western Orissa and Chattisgarh. Majority of the them are landless and small farmers who depend on the daily wages and agricultural work which finds them work only for six months during the rainy season once a year.
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