Child rights activists advocate hostels near work sites

Berhampur: Child rights activists have strongly advocated setting up of temporary hostels near work sites to accommodate children of the migrant workers and give them access to schools.

Children of seasonal migrant workers, working in brick kilns, crusher units and construction places in Odisha are deprived of school education as there were no schooling facilities near the work place, they said.

In Ganjam district, about 1970 children of migrant workers were detected in 25 km radius of Chhatrapur, Chikiti, Digapahandi, Ganjam, Hinjilikatu, Kukudakhandi, Patrapur, Purosottampur, Rangeilunda, Seragarh and Sankhemundi blocks.

The out-of-school students were detected during a survey conduced in the work places recently by Aide et Action International and Unicef in collaboration with local NGOs.

South Asia Regional Director of Aide et Action, Umi Daniel presented the survey report at a workshop on the future strategy on migrant child labour held here over the weekend.

As per the survey most of them are from western Odisha and some from Raigarh and Mahasamud districts of Chhattisgarh. Out of the 1970 migrating children, maximum 978 children are in the age group of 6-14 years followed by 740 children in 0-6 years and only 252 children in the age group of 14-18 years.

While only 34 children were accessing school, only 44 children were getting anganwadi facility. Only 3 per cent of children were getting immunisation facilities, the survey said.

Speakers in the workshop said there was urgent need to provide education facilities to them under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. ?It can be possible only when temporary hostels are set up in the nearby work places, where their parents work,? said child right activist Sudhir Sabat.

The activists also urged the government to set up the anganwadi centres near the work place and to prevent the children to assist their parents in the job. The officials of labour, child welfare committee, district welfare officer, officers from the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) participated in the workshop.