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29 June 2007

India: Interview with a former child labourer now enrolled at BWI Child labour school

My name is Bhola Munda son of late Shri. Santosh Munda and late Smt. Tulsi Devi, Village Salguri, District Kishanganj, Bihar State.

What kind of work do you do? Did the union bring about any change in the work life?
I used to work at a brick kiln with my parents. My parents are no more (…snake bite). I learn to read and write after I joined the school as also about health, hygiene and discipline. I enjoy studying at school.

How many children are registered in your school?
There are 102 children in my school out of which 37 are girls and the remaining 65 are boys.

Who told you that you should go to school? Did you decide?
I was persuaded by Shri. Jagolal Das, President of HKMP Union, to join school. He got my name enrolled in the Residential Child Labour School at Village Belgachhi. I was told that Union is running a residential school where I could study and work for a better future. My future will be doomed if I spend my childhood in the brick kiln and will never be able to come out of this vicious circle. The Union school will provide me chance to change my future.

What has schooling improved in your life
While I worked at the Brick Kiln, it was tough. Often I used to be the recipient of verbal scolding from the owner and the supervisor. Circumstances made me work from morning till evening, at times in the sweltering heat and dirt. The verbal scolding is directed to extract maximum work in a day - slow pace is not accepted to achieve target production. The work at the brick kiln is largely paid on the basis of output - it is piece-rate basis. However after I have joined school, my life has undergone a transformation with exposure to the new environment at the school. I owe this to the HKMP Union. I have new confidence that I can do something with my life. I want to join police service. With other children at this residential school, I get to play and study. It is lot of fun and I enjoy it. I do not want to go back to the brick kilns.

What is your dream?
I want to become a Police Officer.

What would you like to say to the readers of BWI website concerning the problem of child labour?
I want that the BWI continues to work towards the bright future of children at Child Labour Schools and I hope that our future holds promise for all children like me. I hope that every child labour like me should get an equal chance of education and treatment from the society and Government.