Kailash Satyarthi is a 65-year-old Indian, anti-child labor activist, and former engineer. He was the Nobel Peace Prize recipient in 2014 alongside Pakistani education activist, Malala Yousafzai. He has been fighting against child labor most of his life, ever since 1980, and his passion isn’t simply for children, it’s about their dreams. He believes that if childhood itself could be seen as a sacred time, then children are less likely to be exploited for labor:
“Childhood is not an age. It’s a virtue. It’s a value. That means simplicity. That means purity. That means transparency. The world is able to end child labor. We have the technology. We have the resources. We have laws and international treaties. We have everything. The only thing is that we have to feel compassion for others. My struggle is for the globalization of compassion.”
Satyarthi launched the 100 Million campaign in late 2016 in partnership with his Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, which seeks to engage 100 million young people around the world to speak out for the world’s more than 100 million child workers. One of the most notable campaigns was when more than 25,000 people wrote letters to the top 100 US retailers asking them to ensure the products they sell are not connected with child labor.
Since he received the Nobel Prize he has had the chance to speak with world leaders like US President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande and make known his plea to end child labor. He also had the opportunity to engage with all of the UN agencies regarding ending child labor and child slavery.
Even though he is now focused on global policy, the root of his ambitions still remains back home in India. His original organization, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save Childhood Movement) says it’s directly rescued more than 88.000 children throughout the years.
March 14 was declared freedom day, under the hashtag #MyFreedomDay, when schools around the world will raise awareness of modern slavery.