While the Football fever was growing in the world, the four goals were shot against Child Labour and three against illiteracy during a unique match played by former bonded child labourers.
Most of them have been freed during this week from various factories in the capital, New Delhi. This match was organized by Bachpan Bachao Andolan on the World Day Against Child Labour in Mukti Ashram, a transit rehabilitation Centre for freed child labourers.
The children divided themselves into 2 teams - End Child Labour and Education for All - so whichever team wins - child rights are the winner!
All the players, referee and commentators were former child labourers, including Zainab, 16, who spent most of her childhood stitching footballs in a small village in Meerut, before she was withdrawn from work and enrolled in school by the volunteers of Bachpan Bachao Andolan. Zainab Said “It was always a dream for children who stitch footballs to play with it one day but our dream hardly comes true”.
Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, President of Global Campaign for Education, which is spearheading the "One Goal Campaign" in more than hundred countries around the world, participated in the event and played a little with the children. He said, “This soccer match was arranged to ensure that such children also become one with the other children of the world who are closely following the World Cup in South Africa.
Every child has a right to play, get quality education, freedom and childhood but these rights have been robbed off by vested political, social and economic interests, which is deplorable. More than 215 million children who are engaged as child labour today is the biggest scandal of our time.”
Mr. R. S. Chaurasia, Chairperson of BBA, said “The soccer match meant a lot for these children; it meant freedom, joy and getting their childhood back.” He also added that the World Cup has brought with itself freedom for these children rescued during India Action Week.
Bachpan Bachao Andolan also culminated the India Action Week against Child Labour with more than 400 children rescued already and more than 30 employers/ traffickers arrested. Majority of child labourers rescued were working in garment factories in National Capital. Most of them are from the state of Bihar and a few of them have also been trafficked from Nepal.
The theme of the soccer match was - GO FOR THE GOAL: END CHILD LABOUR.