A big thank you to everyone for their support of this project over the last few months.
We ACE, with our experienced local NGO partner, SPEED, have been working in the villages in the state of Telangana, India where cotton production is thriving, in order to eradicate child labour and support their education.
On January 30th, ACE successfully conducted "India Online Tour” for supporters! This tour was planned to relay the supporters and the project site online, have them see the status and facilities of the project site, closely interact with the children and experience the actual situation of the project site.
The program was kicked off with the introduction of local staff and facilities of the bridge school and vocational training centre, with the guidance of SPEED.
Showing around the classroom of the bridge school, a SPEED staff pointed the camera to outdoors in clear blue sky and started to introduce the school playground and kitchen. Then, on the way to the vocational training centre, which is about a minute's walk from the bridge school, while listening to their guidance we started to feel as if we were walking with the SPEED staff there.
At both the bridge school and the vocational training centre, children cheerfully waved their hands with smiles to greet us.
Here, the long-awaited interview with the children has finally started!
This comes to the program highlight where each supporter asks own questions directly to the children.
~"There were many days when I was very sad to work” Children's candid voices~
"What is the most fun part of studying at Bridge School?"
-At Bridge School, I am very happy to be able to study while playing and singing in a healthy and beautiful environment. Here, the teachers happily teach us the basics. -
"How did you feel when you were working?"
-When I was working in a cotton field with my parents, there were many days when I was very sad to work. While working in a cotton field, pesticides were sprayed, and the smell caused me to suffer from severe headaches and stomach pain. When I was picking cotton by hand, I had allergies to my hands and feet, and felt severe pain, and it was very hard to work. I was wondering why I had to do this job and for whom. -
"How did you feel about the situation where you have to work even though you are a child?"
-When I was a child, my family was poor, so I had to go to work in a cotton field with my parents. I was very sad when I went to the cotton field, but my parents couldn't get me to school, so I always wondered when I would be free from work. Now I am enjoying learning tailoring training very much. -
At first, the children seemed a little nervous, but as they answered the questions of the supporters who spoke gently, they seemed to be relaxed little by little.
Children ask questions to Japanese people
The time for questions from children to Japanese supporters was also set up!
"What kind of food do you eat in Japan?"
"Please tell us what kind of industry there is in Japan."
"Please tell us about the Japanese education system."
Wow! They have so much curiosity!
Each question was kindly answered in plain words, such as the abundance of Japanese food, the car manufacturing industry and Japanese manga culture, and the compulsory education system in Japan.
After about an hour of active interaction, the online tour unfortunately came to an end.
There were some happenings that didn't go as planned, but that showed even more the real and gave us feeling of local culture and values. Although it was within a limited time, we believe that every participant enjoyed it to the fullest while recognizing the local situation!
In this way, we were able to see beautiful scenes where the supporters and the local children actively interacted to get to know each other, spending interactive and meaningful time together. It was a very fulfilling time to ACE as well.
~Think about children, working together with supporters~
Providing such an opportunity, with a closer look at the local situation and the daily lives of children, we are certain that interaction with children raise much awareness to the supporters in problems and issues in child labour and cotton production. It would be one of the triggers for people to keep them in mind on a daily basis, and definitely helps to eradicate child labour step by step by working together collectively.