BENGALURU: Kanaka V, who spent 12 years of her life as a child labourer, will speak about child rights in the Parliament on November 20 on the occasion of Universal Children’s Day. She is among the 30 children who have been selected from across the nation to deliver speeches at an event organised by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). She is the only one selected from Karnataka.
This is for the first time that children from across the nation will address the Parliament.Kanaka (17) was born in a slum in the city. While her mother worked as a maid to make ends meet, her father’s physical disability kept him homebound. Her mother managed to send Kanaka to a school till Class 4, but after that she was diagnosed with cancer. This is when Kanaka dropped out of school. Kanaka worked in three houses to earn daily bread for the family. A few months later, Kanaka’s mother died and the girl was forced to live with her relatives, who put her through emotional, physical and mental abuse.
Her relatives made Kanaka work in wedding halls and it is in one such hall in Yeshwanthpur where people from SPARSHA, an NGO that fights against child labour, spotted her. Kanaka was rescued in 2011.
Today, Kanaka is in her PU first year in a private college in the city. She scored 80 per cent in her Class 10 board exams and she dreams of becoming a scientist.Kanaka will represent Karnataka in the Parliament and speak for eight minutes. Kanaka underwent three rounds of auditions where hundreds took part from around the state.
Saying that it is one of the happiest moments in her life, Kanaka said, “I feel that though there are several laws to protect child rights, nothing is enforced effectively. I am going to stress the same in Parliament.”
“There are thousands of children like me who have faced various kinds of abuses. Children in urban areas at least have people they can approach. But, there are children like me who suffer in slums and rural areas,” she added.