War Against Child Labor

148048 New Orleans The International Labor Organization declares today the Day of the War against Child Labor.  I posted pictures from the BBC website of child workers from India, thinking about the waste pickers we are organizing there.

This was on my mind because Judith Francorsi, an Australian journalist now living in Mumbai, asked me about this same, hard question on Skype just this week while working on the Dharavi book supporting Acorn International.   How do we reconcile the fact that we are working for living wages for ragpickers and so much of the work is done by families including children who normally we would hope would be in school?

I could only answer that when I met with more than 100 ragpickers along the border last year between east Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, the leaders wanted to talk to us for a minute after the meeting.  They had two primary concerns:  (1) that their livelihood not be privatized, and (2) that a teacher be found for their children so that they could learn after work. Continue reading