Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi spoke in Geneva, Switzerland this week on his life-long pursuit: the eradication of child labor. His work to end child labor, primarily focused on the use of child soldiers, won him the Nobel Peace Prize in India. Mr. Satyarthi has dedicated his life to removing children from harm, both in India and around the world.
We followed his story and were deeply inspired by his speech. Mr. Satyarthis said, “There are between 400,000 and 500,000 child soldiers across the world but the actual numbers could be far higher because there are hidden militant groups kidnapping children and forcing them to use guns.”
Mr. Satyarthi also said, “I have been advocating for the last 35 years that eradication of child labor and quality education are the two sides of the same coin. We cannot achieve the one without the other.”
This is an incredible statement! One of Project AK-47’s primary focuses when engaging with former child soldiers is providing them with an education. We have seen first hand how basic skills and knowledge can radically change a child’s life – opening up a world of possibilities outside the front lines of an army.
However, as Mr. Satyarthi points out, “Unfortunately only one percent of the total humanitarian aid goes for education.”
This is a reality we at Project AK-47 know all too well. It’s beautiful to watch what happens to a child when he or she is given knowledge. They become free thinkers, able to make sound decisions that affect the course of their lives. Often, people think we swoop into project areas and liberate children with some sort of dramatic flair. However, most of the time we negotiate the release of children from the armies and then work tirelessly to heal their minds, bodies and spirits.
Mr. Satyarthi said, “making children kill people is the worst thing you can do to a child.” We all know this to be true. We have seen the deep scars this creates on a child’s mind and soul – scars they will carry for a lifetime.
But by providing our kids with love, security and equipping them with knowledge, they can grow to become whole human beings again, ready to set the world on fire to forever end the use of child soldiers.
Thank you for your constant support.
Read the news report here.