BWI affiliates in India have offered their CHILD LEARN school buildings as possible COVID-19 facilities to the government as part of their commitment and solidarity to help contain the spread of the pandemic.
The Uttar Pradesh Grameen Mazdoor Sangathan (UPGMS), Hind Khet Mazdoor Panchayat (HKMP), Bhatha Mazdoor Sabha (BMS) and Indian National Building Construction and Wood Workers Federation (INBCWF) said that they have already communicated with the chief ministers of their respective states regarding the proposal.
“This is a time of great difficulty for the world and our country. We all need to join hands to collectively battle COVID-19 and mitigate its impact on our lives and livelihood. As such, we have made available to the government our CHILD LEARN school infrastructure in three geographical locations that were used as schools for workers ‘children, and also as training skills centres for the women and youth. We have also decided, if required, our unions will also allow the use of our school buildings to temporary house migrant workers in transit,” UPGMS President Tularam Sharma said.
The BWI, in partnership with Indian trade unions and partners from Denmark, Australia, Germany, Netherlands and Finland, has established the Child Labour Elimination Resource Network (CHILD LEARN), a non-profit registered company. It is part of BWI’s “decent education for children, decent work of adults” campaign in the brick kiln, stone quarry and minor forestry sector. At present, there are a total of seventeen (17) BWI/union-run CHILD LEARN schools and preparatory centres for child labourers all over India. Implementing states include Bihar, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
As of 24 April, India has 21,700 COVID-19 cases and 686 deaths. The pandemic has severely impacted the country's 450 million workforce.