Kailash Satyarthi

Ashoka Fellow

Citation

This profile was prepared when Kailash Satyarthi was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1995.
Introduction
Kailash Satyarthi is fighting the use of child labor by creating domestic and international consumer resistance to products made by bonded children, as well as with direct legal and advocacy work. Through a number of training programs, he also helps children sold to pay their parents' debts to find new lives and serve as agents of prevention within their communities.
The New Idea
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

Updates

Kailash Satyarthi is a renowned leader in the global movement against child labor. Today, in addition to his trademark organization Rugmark, Kailash heads the Global March Against Child Labor, a conglomeration of 2000 social-purpose organizations and trade unions in 140 countries. In 1983, Kailash Satyarthi founded the grassroots movement Bachpan Bachao Andolan - Save the Childhood Movement and Rugmark - a rug trademarking organization that guaranteed fair practices and no child labor. These movements have rescued over 80,000 children from the scourge of bondage, trafficking and exploitative labour in the last three decades. By using consumer behavior to influence corporate behavior, Kailash has initiated and perpetuated ethical business practices. In the last decade, his innovative strategy of social labeling and activism has led to a 70% decrease in child labour in South Asia and released 1 million bonded labourers. In addition, He successfully spearheaded a countrywide movement to make education a Constitutional Provision which subsequently paved way for the Right of children for free and compulsory education in 2009 in India.Kailash Satyarthi is the architect and leader of two of the largest civil society movements: the Global March Against Child Labor (GMACL), a worldwide coalition of NGOs, Teachers' Union and Trade Unions, and the Global Campaign for Education. The GMACL campaign was instrumental in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) decision to change its outdated policy on child labour. Towards this, he led the Manila wave consisting of children, heads of state and stakeholders from over 103 countries to ILO headquarters in Geneva to demand for a stronger international law against child labour, slavery, and prostitution. This campaign instigated the fastest convention ratification in ILO history, setting the standard for unacceptable forms of child labour, minimum age of employment and requirements for hazardous work.Building on that campaign, Kailash is creating a new culture of coalition, bringing together unusual partners and stakeholders and building a collective voice. With the cooperation of NGOs, unions, religious organisations, and more importantly, rescued child labourers, Kailash helped create a global demand for an end to child labour. Using his coalition strategy, Kailash is now working on bringing child labour and slavery into the post-2015 development agenda for the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).Note: This was updated in August, 2014. Read on for the ELECTION profile.

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