Two girls laughing. (Source: Bastian Strauch)

Textile factories are no place for children

India: One day, Amrita (name changed) could not take it any more. She jumped to freedom from the wall that fenced in the factory grounds like a prison. The girl went to the police, where she found her way into the anti-child labour project run by our partner Marialaya. Please support our work with a donation or sponsor a project.

Economic boom at the expense of children

The 14-year-old girl had sewn shirts in a factory in the Indian city of Tirupur. It is boom time for the textile industry here in “T-shirt City”, where over 7,000 factories, spinning mills, embroidery houses and dyeworks produce clothes – including for the export market. However, the boom did not bring prosperity for everyone. One-quarter of the population is unemployed, while three-quarters are in debt.

“Leased” from her parents

Amrita’s parents are also poor. So poor that they “leased” their daughter to the factory for five years. The intermediary promised a better life for Amrita, with money, food and accommodation. In reality, she ended up in a kind of work prison, where fear and violence were the order of the day. The girls and boys were not allowed to leave the factory and no wages were paid. Their working day was twelve hours long with hardly any breaks. Breathing in the cotton dust caused many children to suffer from asthma.

Girls in danger of abuse

For girls, there is also the danger of sexual abuse. This can happen at any time – and when it does, their silence is often bought with a little money. It is not easy for state authorities to bring the factory operators to justice. When police raid the factories, they often fail to find the child workers because they are isolated from the “official” factory.

Our concrete achievements

Factories are no place for children. With our local partner Marialaya, we work to combat child labour in Tirupur’s textile industry. Our new project is geared towards helping 750 girls and boys: the vastly underage textile workers, children who have dropped out of school and children whose families are so poor that they are in danger of being sent to work in a factory.

Schooling support centres

Five days a week, the 750 children visit the 25 schooling support centres run by the project. Here, children who have dropped out of school can catch up on lessons as a preparation for being reintegrated into the school system. Schoolchildren who are in imminent danger of being drawn into child labour explore their current lesson material in greater depth and are shown how important it is to complete their schooling. The children’s talents are also cultivated with street theatre, environmental clubs and other activities.

Vocational courses

Vocational preparation courses offer children and young people very real perspectives for the future: as bakers, nurses, computer experts, geriatric nurses or food service providers.

Involving parents

The project can only be effective when we involve the children’s parents. This being the case, we provide courses showing them how to increase their family income through new business ideas.

As well as this, project staff convey to parents the importance of ensuring that their children grow up protected from the risk of violence and factory work. And that, instead, they are given education and, in turn, a future.

Project No. 21720

How we protect children

How we protect children

Kindernothilfe supports numerous protection programs and makes every effort to prevent the children involved in its projects abroad and in its German-based activities from sexual abuse and maltreatment.

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How we promote education

How we promote education

Some 57 million children worldwide are still unable to attend school. Each of these children is in danger of being drawn into a vicious cycle of inadequate educational opportunities and abject poverty. We have made education the main focus of our work.

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Donate now

There are many ways to support the work of Kindernothilfe. Click here to find out how. Please donate and help children around the world!

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