My name is Om Prakash and at the age of 5 I became a child slave. I did slave labor for three years, to pay for the debt my father had with the local land owner. I got little to eat and was often subjected to violence. We - my family and I - had to work hard all day, so I couldn’t go to school anymore. Fortunately, I was liberated from slavery when I was 8 years old. Millions of other children in my country aren’t that lucky and are still kept as slaves. I fight for their liberation. After I was freed from slavery, I went to school again. I learned to be a child again, play and celebrate my birthday. I think it’s important that all children are able to do the same.
At school, I continuously came up with ideas for activities for children to learn about their rights, such as the right to an identity. I started a campaign for children to have a birth certificate. Without it, they can’t stand up for their rights and will remain unprotected. I also told parents about the importance of education. As chairman of the Children’s Parliament at school, I found out that parents had to pay a school fee. However, public education in India is supposed to be free, so I went to court with a complaint against the school management. The judges agreed with me and the school fees had to be refunded to the parents.
Together we can move the world
KidsRights supports me, as a changemaker, in my fight against child (slave) labor. A few years ago, some friends and I founded our own organization, Poornima Paatshala. With this initiative, we wanted to help children with reading, writing and mathematics. After school hours, we also teach them about art, theater and self defense, so that they can develop themselves even more.
My biggest wish is to strengthen the support for children with less opportunities. Do you, like me, as a changemaker, want to make this come true? Together we can!