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Friday, February 19, 2010

Working hands

Walking through a crowded market of Gurgaon, a child's voice grabbed my attention. He was almost running to keep pace with me. He was carrying two packets in his hand and a polythene bag full of more packets in other hand. So a sales kid he was! I paused and looked towards him. He said, "I buy them directly from the factory. That's why it will cost you less."
"How much?" Although I was not in need of those packets but still kid's marketing skills were drawing my attention.
"One packet will cost ...." I couldn't hear the price because of car honk. "And if you buy two I will give you 25% discount."

My question is if I buy those packets from him, am I encouraging child labour or am I making a person self reliant?


  1. It's both ways Chandu!

    But of course child labor is being encouraged..and on the other hand if he is unable to sell the articles then he might be beaten up for that or kept hungry or something...this might also encourage him may be to steal for food,money or both !

    Have you seen the movie 'traffic signal'? It's an eye the problem is we just can't make a difference amongst genuine and fake !

  2. The same thing haunts me too...dont know what to do...I am very particular in not giving alms to kids, but here I make a concession that I buy things.

  3. I agree wth the reply above...
    So in th end do wat ever ur heart says...:-)

  4. My school time friends used to call me 'Chandu' and I am hearing this name after a long time. :)
    I have watched most of the movies directed by Madhur Bhandarkar but not this one. Who is emotionally blackmailing us and who needs our emotional support is the toughest question?
    Thanks a million for recalling my sweet memories. :)

  5. @ Renu: Thanks for sharing ur experiences with us. :)

    @ Naveen : Great idea! Thanks! :)

  6. I thing it works both ways depending on the actual source or what you call the "supply chain" in management terms.. Child labour will definitely be promoted since you are buying from them. But those kids who are actually working hard to get money not for spending just like that, they are the ones who will become self reliant. But this is hardly the case these days.. "Im Nu" has rightly pointed out the movie traffic signal. It was shocking to see the syndicate behind all these selling and begging at the traffic signals.. Infact, I once heard it on one of the top radiostations that school and college kids who ae well off they still beg wearing dirty clothes because they just want to increase their pocket money. Thats all.. Who knows what is the background of the kids who sell on roads..

    Btw I too am called Chandu by my college friends... :P

  7. Defn.. a question that bothers me too.

    I cudnt get an answer either.

  8. I once came across a child working in hostel mess and asked him why he is there instead of studying. The answer was he is able to fill his stomach that way.If he is not working no food also. So what is the answer in such cases. I felt it is better than in falling into hands of bad elements. I also think the authorites while taking such children for work will they also educate them so that they would be able to get of this rut ad make a decent life for themselves.

  9. disturbing question; but mebbe he uses the money for his school fees.........

  10. Hi,

    I think it's more on encouraging child labor... it's really tough not giving alms those li'l kids on the street and keep on ignoring them but it's the best way to help them not to depend so much on each alms people may give to them... very wisely written...!!!:)

    Good day!!!:)


  11. A very tricky situation.. U dont buy the child may go hungry.. You buy then we are encouraging child labour.

    It needs a bigger thought then just that, and not by just comman man but the govt too.. they need to eradicate child labour.. NO child should be working. they should be enjoying there childhood like we did .. They need to be educated. so then can stand tall in the society

  12. Since we can only sit and preach and most of us do not get down to doing the thing that's needed, I guess you wouldn't be promoting child labour by buying that packet from him. You would be helping him or may be even making him self reliant. Some how, I am not confused at all about this. :)

  13. How and why these childeren's come on to the streets and specially on red lights or crossings.

    Why not any semi government agency or any community run initiative based on city- like no tolerance to child exploitation in any manner- be constituted to take cantrol of these things, so that we can spend our time on some productive issues.

    It really pains when any kid come infront of me and try to sell something or beg.

  14. well written post. i hav been working with an NGO for sometym and we often face such situation in which we cant do much.
    I never buy anything from these kids, but always try to give them some edibles so that they dont stay hungry.

  15. If i were a kid whose parents can't afford to feed me or take care of me, i would naturally be on the streets trying to earn a living than even think of going to a school...
    As long as there is poverty, child labor will continue to exist. Our deciding to buy or not to buy from these under-aged sales kids will not make any difference.

  16. Dear Chandrika,
    Good Morning!
    I reached here for your name.My Amma's name is Chandrika and I love the name a lot!
    Short and nice post.someone dear to me stays in Gurgaon.:)
    That moment I would have bought the packets!Unless I do something really effective to provide the daily food to the less fortunate,I can't preach on Child Labour.
    Wishing you a beautiful Sunday,

  17. hmmm...that's a toughie! i really can't decide!

  18. I see no harm in paying to a kid who is toiling on the traffic signal just to ensure that his family eats a square meal at night before sleeping.

    We offer hoards money at the temples and gurudwaras with a prayer that it reaches the needy. But does it. So what is the harm if i also pay directly to the beneficiary who is left to fend for him or herself.

  19. Oh u spoke my mind and prob of many others. This is a dilemma indeed. There ws a time when I used to feel we wud be encouraging them to work if we do buy them. But then, after talking to a few others, when I came to know they r nt better off even otherwise, I thought its better to buy them as it may help them satiate a bit of their hunger atleast :( Nt sure if I am right, but will go abt doing this till I feel otherwise :(

  20. hi..thanks for dropping by..:) maybe i should follow your cool blog.x) hope you follow mine as well :3

    (P.S. if you'll reply to this comment..pls. put it in my blog's comment box so that i can update my comments :D)

  21. I think more than any thing else one must check if the supplies came out genuinely.

  22. if no one is buying then he would be beggar. so I would buy..make him self reliant with hope that his kids will not be child labour.

  23. Nice insight.
    Sometimes I have to wonder, too.

  24. me LAW needs to be reinforced and fear of violation of law is what makes people set ground rules..Poverty and exploitation of kids make them do this!!!
    ..SO..the system should work before people!!!

  25. It is quite tough to say if you are making the child self reliant or encouraging child labour. The reasons to this could be manifold.

    First of all the product he is selling itself could be low in quality, in which case it is a clear cut case of child labour. He could be doing this because he is forced to do it by his parents amounting to child abuse. Or he himself could be taken by bad habits that he needs to sell these product to satisfy his inclinations. So, it is quite tough to say.

    Whatever it may be, a child has lost his childhood and innocence amidst all these.

  26. tats really a taboo ! I dont even know what to say. But if i were u i would jus buy.

  27. You know, I used to think the same thing when I came across such small children. Have you noticed that the things they sell are often worthless clutter. Well, if you don't buy it, you are robbing the child of a meal and if you DO buy then you're encouraging chil labour (as Bikram rightfully pointed out). But people often end up paying something and buying the clutter.

    Well why not just pay the kid the money and NOT take anything from him/her in return. The clutter is not really going to help make a big difference in your life, so why take it at all? You just ensure that the child gets his meal by paying him/her the money. Similary let the next person make the choice whether he wants to encourage child labour or ensure that the kid gets his next meal.

    Off course, this would need very SELFLESS human beings which are very scanty in numbers. But hey, this is worth a thought isn't it :)

    This was another wonderful thought provoking post. Hats Off!

  28. It can be so hard to see the bigger issues behind the immediate advantages.

  29. again, a good post.
    at times, i give money,
    very rarely i buy, since the stuff is of very low quality,
    if i hv something to eat with me,i give it to the child..
    everyday when i travel, esp by the Qutub Golf course side,there are a bunch of kids who identify me!!after all this..most of the time, i wonder how will this change.

  30. I have also come across through this situations and I get confused what to do. When I see a small child selling something and then giving discount for buying more then in one point of time I feel not to buy as I am encouraging child labour and in another point of time I feel that I am purchasing from the child and helping him as well as I am getting some discount.

  31. Aww :) I'm glad you liked it :) Chandu ! and YAY I was first to comment :)

  32. That is a tough one... we encountered many children selling things in Vietnam when we travelled there, but were told not to buy anything, since many times the money doesn't actually go to the child or their family.

  33. hi!
    What about this: how about your engage the child in a conversation over some chocolate milk and cookies and you ask the child what his money goes for and see if he gets to go to school or not also. I think you should encourage him for no one is doing that anyone
    p.s. Please come by again and make comments in my blog Lurkynat! and bring your friends as well

  34. I think this is better than begging...if we don't buy, somebody else will buy and they will continue selling...this is a chain reaction, I feel. At least this money will be useful for them. And this experience might help them later and they might open a shop...if not, they might start begging or stealing.

    It is very difficult to decide in these situations, Chandrika. We can 'think' in so many angles, that is all.

  35. @ Sankoobaba : Thanks for ur nice views. :)

    @ Chanz : Hi Chandu! :) It is really surprising that children from rich homes are doing so. Thanks for sharing it with us. :)

    @ Tulika : Thanks dear for stopping by. :)

    @ chitra : Nice words but practical implementation sometimes become difficult. Thanks a million! :)

    @ Bhagyashree : Thanks for tiny information. :)

    @ WINDOWLAD : Thanks a lot for ur nice views. :) Good day, Kelvin! :)

    @ Bikram : Thanks a lot for thinking so much about all those poor kids. :)

    @ Destiny's child... : Thanks for removing my confusion. :)

    @ Anonymous : Thanks a million for ur nice ideas! :) Keep visiting! :)

    @ @ease : It is nice to hear that u r working with NGO. :) Giving food to them is also a good idea. :) Thanks! :)

    @ mOhan : Welcome to my blog! :) Thanks a lot for sharing ur views with us. :)

    @ anupama : U can call me 'AMMA'. :-D Thanks for sharing ur views and ur good wishes. :) Have a great day! :)

    @ blunt edges : Arre u can't even think of a humorous answer. :D

    @ Balvinder Singh : I liked ur idea and philosophy behind it. :) Thanks! :)

    @ Swaram : Thanks a million for ur comment. :)

    @ ♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ ayu ♫ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ♫ : Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. :)

    @ BK Chowla, : Very well said, Sir. Thanks! :)

    @ iamyuva : U change ur profile photo so quickly. Nice one! :) Thanks for suggesting me to buy those packets. :)

    @ Leona : Thanks a lot! :)

    @ Harman : Gr8 views! :) Thanks dear! :)

    @ Vittaldas Prabhu : Yaeh, child has lost his innocence and childhood. Thanks a million! :)

    @ Srivats : Thanks! :) Keep visiting! :)

    @ smitzy : This was another wonderful thought provoking comment. Hats Off! :-D

    @ tattytiara : Thanks! :)

    @ blueapple : We all together will change it. :) Thanks a lot! :) Ur blog is really very nice. :)

    @ Babli : U made me more confused. :-D Thanks a lot! :)

    @ I'm Nu : U must be given an award for that. :-D Thanks again. :)

    @ cabin + cub : Oh really!! Thanks for sharing ur views with us. :)

    @ natalie : U just organise a party, all my friends will be there. :-D Thanks a lot! :)

    @ Sandhya : Thanks for sharing ur angle and point of view with us. :)