The XVII CHILD LEARN Board meeting was held on 12 March 2019 in New Delhi, India. The Board deliberated on evolving the implementation plan of the Child Labour Project (CLP) in line with the 2018-2021 CLP Strategy Paper that was adopted at the June 2018 BWI World Board meeting. Per-Olof Sjoo, BWI President and President of GS-Sweden, who was on his first visit to India also took part in this important Board meeting. He was joined by other cooperating partners which included Roel de Vries and Ruud Baars of Child Learn Netherlands; Gunde Odgaard of BAT-KARTELLET; and Wilma Roos of FNV Mondiaal, along with implementing unions in India--Tularam Sharma of UPGMS, Kulwant Singh Bawa of BMS, and Alimuddin Ansari of HKMP.
The strategy and discussions included a roadmap for existing and future CLP interventions and also reinforcing the trade union agenda while working on issues of child labour. The Board reviewed progress on the sustainability of schooling interventions and overall project implementation in light of the new strategy, and, consequently approved an array of activities to strengthen the new direction.
One of the high points of the Board meeting was the participation of the Paints and Coatings Skill Council (PCSC), Ministry of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India. The PCSC representative gave a detailed presentation for converting CLS into Skills Development Centres. This was useful noting that the transition from Child Learn Schools to vocational skills training programs has been an evolving strategy for the past two years.
Following the Board meeting, Per-Olof Sjöö undertook a field visit to one of the Child Labour Schools at Agra, Uttar Pradesh – Dhanoli CLS managed by the BWI affiliate, Uttar Pradesh Grameen Mazdoor Sangathan (UPGMS). The BWI President also took this opportunity to interact with the children, teachers, parents and union office-bearers. A number of journalists from local media present at the school interviewed President Sjöö resulting in wide coverage in the local print and audio-visual media.
Sharing his experience, Per-Olof Sjöö, stated, “The Child Labour Program has been one of the most long-running and sustainable cooperation projects for the BWI and a successful intervention when it comes to making a difference to the working families and their children. I am very happy to be here and see it through my eyes. It is important that unions continue to take up child labour as a trade union agenda and scale-up efforts to realize decent work in the BWI sectors.”
The Child Labour Elimination Resource Network (CHILD LEARN) is a non-profit company registered under Section 8 of the Indian Companies Act. The CHILD LEARN was established in the year 2003 with a vision of a “child labour free world” - a world where every child has access to quality schooling and adults have decent work. The company also acts as a custodian of school buildings and infrastructure developed by the Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) in partnership with the affiliated unions in India.