It is not everyday that you get to meet a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Meeting Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), was a once in a lifetime opportunity. BBA is an organization that rescues and rehabilitates victims of child labour in India. To date, the organization has rescued over 85,000 children, with the number increasing on a daily basis.
When we started talking to him in Hindi his joy was palpable and unbounded – as he said it was great to be able to talk in the language of the common Indian person. It was also really enjoyable for us to be able to hear his own words in his own language, without the added filter that all second languages impose. When asked about the growth of this organization, Mr. Satyarthi simply said that he followed his passion and celebrated every small victory along the way. By taking small steps and tackling one problem at a time, BBA was able to change the fate of child poverty and exploitation in India and the world.
To this day, Mr. Satyarthi still goes on raids with other BBA members, allowing him to remain connected with his calling. Due to its reputation and expertise, BBA has become a vital player in the creation and implementation of child labour laws in India. After speaking with Mr. Satyarthi and other BBA personnel about the organization and its work, we were able to go visit one of the ashram’s that is a transitory home for rescued children. This afforded us an opportunity to view its volunteers interact with the rescued children and brought into reality the great work that BBA does.
This visit also solidified the relevance and unique nature of the Lauder program. Mr. Satyarthi was vocal about his appreciation of the fact that we conducted the entire meeting in Hindi and that our focus on the region and our desire to learn about it had the potential to propel meaningful change in the future. For us it was humbling to start our two-year journey being inspired by a man whose passion and unyielding determination has and will continue to better the lives of countless children.
By: Zeenia Kateli, WG’18, Lauder Hindi Program
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