Quality and meaningful education is the prerequisite for all child rights. BBA believes that poverty, illiteracy and child labour are part of a triangular paradigm, forming a vicious circle, where each is a cause and consequence of the other. Education is the key to the prevention of child labour, child trafficking and all manifestations of violations of child rights.
Therefore, BBA has early on spoken up for a law on free and compulsory education for all children in India and has formed the ‘Parliamentary Forum on Education’ in the 1990s to raise this demand before the legislators. In 2001, BBA organised and led a six months long campaign across India with a 15,000 km long march called the Siksha Yatra. At the time, former child labourers also got the chance to meet with the then PM Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee to demand a law on education. Subsequently, the Union Minister for Human Resource Development announced the government's intention to make a new law called the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, which was finally adopted in 2009.
BBA continues to be at the forefront in the fight for free and compulsory education. Recently, BBA has assisted the Government of India in defending the constitutional validity of the Right to Education Act. The founder of BBA Mr Kailash Satyarthi was also elected the first Chairperson and then the President of the Global Campaign for Education.
The great importance BBA places on quality education is also reflected in its programmes.
The unique intervention model ‘Child Friendly Villages’ (Bal Mitra Gram) is universally accepted as an innovative development model and as one of the best tactics for combating child labour, protecting child rights and ensuring access to quality education for all.
A Bal Mitra Gram is a village where:
- No child is being exploited (in any form of labour or other exploitation).
- All children are in mainstream formal quality education.
- Children are empowered about their rights and form their own children's council to voice their opinions.
- The official village council recognizes the children's council as a part of the decision making process of the village.
The success of the BMG model also relies on the formation of and cooperation with youth groups, women’s groups and village advisory councils.
Between 2010-2013, BBA has empowered 13,226 children in its Child Friendly Villages, by ensuring their access to quality education, retention in schools, protection from trafficking, child marriage and other such vulnerabilities. Read more
In 2013, Razia Sultan (in picture), one of the children from our Child Friendly Villages, won the first United Nations Malala Award for spreading education among child labourers.
Furthermore, over the last three years, our rescue operations enabled us to withdraw 3814 children from exploitative labour situations and to enroll them in schools.
BBA regularly organizes public awareness campaigns across the country, thereby drawing attention to the difficulties for children to get quality education. BBA’s efforts include public hearings, organization of marches (rallies), specific campaigns like the Global Education Week and filing complaints before various authorities, including the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. BBA is also at the forefront of pressuring for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of Education for All.