VIRUDHUNAGAR: There sure must have been a phase in these kids’ life, who thought going to school was a mere dream. Their lives for a brief period was reduced to ashes as they once worked for the crackers, matches and printing industry. But, hold on, the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) made a difference in their thinking and lives. Ask how? Nearly 26 students, who were rescued under the scheme this year and have now passed the Class XII examinations.
Speaking to Express, NCLP Project Director T Narayanasamy said that the 26 students were rescued as child labourers from several industries and appeared for Class XII examination in the district. “Three students R Priya, who was working for a cracker unit from home, secured 1068 marks; R Muthukumar, another boy who worked for cracker units from home scored 1011 marks and M Ramalakshmi secured 984 marks. These three students who worked from home for the allied units of firework industry are now the toppers in NCLP circle of Virudhunagar.”
He further said, “in 2016-17, as many as 30 students passed the Class XII examination in Virudhunagar district. From 2006-07 to 2017-18, as many as 603 students have cleared their board examinations in the district,” he added.
K Ramalakshmi, a teacher at Siruvar Poonga NCLP Special Training Centre at Thiruthangal near Sivakasi has been working with the NCLP since the last 20 years. Having rescued close to 200 children, who were employeed in different industries, Ramalakshmi recalls one girl she rescued in 2009. “Priya, daughter of Ravi and Lakshmi, along with her sister Mariswari worked from home. The two girls did not go to school as their father was ill and were in need of money to run the family. While I was on an inspection, I noticed Priya work from home. Initially her parents refused to send her for the special training centre, however they accepted later. She was a bright child and showed great interest in studying.”
Express got in touch with Priya, who claimed that she was very happy with her results and now she plans to pursue her BA in History. “My father Ravi used to own an ironing cart and my mother works as a labourer in the fireworks industry. As I hail from an economically backward family, I started to work from home to support my family. But after I enrolled myself in the special training centre, I understood the importance of education and started to perform well,” Priya shared. Ramalakshmi also rescued her elder sister Mariswari, who completed her Class XII two years ago with 747 marks.
Help from govt
To help students pursue higher education in colleges, the government under the Labour Department is distributing D500 per month to the students till they complete their higher education. Several organisations are also helping students, who were put through the formal education by NCLP