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Who Is Kailash Satyarthi - About Kailash Satyarthi

The life and work of Mr. Kailash Satyarthi is synonymous to the never-ending crusade against child slavery. Born in 1954 in Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh, a state in central India, he has a degree in electrical engineering and a post-graduate diploma in high-voltage engineering.
While teaching as a professor in a college in Bhopal, Mr. Satyarthi decided to work more actively for social change. Along with a set of friends, he founded Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) in 1980. BBA (Save the Childhood Movement in English) symbolizes the struggle against child labour and child servitude. The organization is also the initiator of the first regional South Asian people’s movement, the South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude (SACCS), a conglomeration of more than 750 civil society organizations. Till date, BBA team has led to the rescue and withdrawal of over 77,328 child bonded labourers and developed a successful model for their education and rehabilitation.
In 1998, Mr. Satyarthi organized the Global March against Child Labour (GMACL) across 103 countries with participation of over 7.2 million people and 20,000 civil society organizations. It is the largest peoples’ campaign on child labour that led to ILO Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labour. It has been successful in the formation of the Global Task Force on Child Labour and Education, which is a working committee of UN agencies and GMACL for policy coherence and concerted action on child labour elimination, education for all and poverty alleviation.
Global Campaign for Education (GCE) – The education initiative led by Mr. Satyarthi is the coalition of civil society networks, foundations and teachers association campaigning for the implementation of Dakar goals of ‘Education for All (EFA)’ through international advocacy and lobbying work.
As an analytical thinker, Mr. Satyarthi has been the pioneer advocate of the now established ‘Triangular paradigm of development’ interlinking child labour elimination and poverty eradication with education for all. He is combating the use of child labour by creating domestic and international consumer resistance to products made by children in bonded labour. In 1994, he started “Rugmark”, a social labeling program in which rugs are labeled and certified to be child-labour-free by factories that agree to be regularly inspected.
He has promoted the empowerment of children through the formation of Bal Mitra Grams (Child Friendly Villages). The concept of ‘Bal Mitra Gram’ is an innovative approach towards total elimination of child labor and universalization of education. Children’s village council has evolved to enhance community awareness and participatory democracy and has been an unprecedented success.
In 2005, the Skoll Foundation of U.S.A featured Mr. Satyarthi as one of 12 ‘New Heroes’ of this world. Legendary actor, Robert Redford, anchored the feature and also provided the voice over for Mr. Satyarthi’s segment.
  • International Peace Prize, Germany (1994)
  • Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, USA (1995)
  • Trumpeter Award, USA (1995)
  • Golden Flag Award, Holland (1998)
  • La Hospitalet Award, Spain (1999)
  • Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Award, Germany (1999)
  • Raoul Wallenberg Human Rights Award, USA (2002)
  • Freedom Award, USA (2006)
  • Heroes Acting to End Modern Day Slavery, USA (2007)
  • Medal of the Italian Senate, Italy (2007)
  • Alfonso Comin International Award, Spain (2008)


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