In post partition India around the year 1950, after independent India and constitution came into force, the sports goods industry started. Today the industry is worth 600 crores and the goods are exported to Britain, USA, Netherlands, Germany, France, etc. In all, 318 sports items are produced. All the activities are centred around Meerut (Western U.P.) and Jalandhar ( Punjab) . What is peculiar to the sports good industry is the fact that the tiny fingers of the children are extensively used for the production of sports items likethe cricket balls, footballs,‘ shuttle corks’ etc. All the children are brought through middlemen.
The Fair Play Campaign in the sporting goods industry initiated by SACCS/BBA is a bench mark amongst the several campaigns that it has successfully run over the years.
The main objectives of Fair Play Campaign are: -
- Identification of critical instances of child labour; these children, along with their mothers will constitute the critical target group (CTG).
- Negotiating with employers/ contractors whether the task performed by the child can be assigned to an adult of the same family e.g. the mother; providing a monetary incentive e.g salary of the mother may initially be paid by the project.
- Setting up of sewing cooperatives for income augmentation of CTG mothers; flextime provisions; membership conditional to project coordinator’s certification that children have ceased working.
- Setting up of cooperative store for sale of sewing coop products.
- Facilitating admission of older children into vocational training schools.
Allied activities including teacher training, community awareness, networking, advocacy, consumer education, policy level, lobbying, local government functionary-sensitisation etc.
The overall experience of running the two schools under the Fairplay Campaign for SACCS/BBA has been enriching. The common myth that the children of the poor do not have the privilege of education was dispelled due to the existence of these schools. Some of them did not know the basics of reading and writing and alphabets too. The change was miaraculous to the parents who sent their children to stitch balls and make cricket bats a few months ago, were chanting slogans STOP CHILD LABOUR. The children were in the range of 13-14 years and some of them were total orphans. . Besides conventional education, they were also taught the basics of daily hygiene and cleanliness.
- Reduced the number of child labour in sports goods industry.
- Increased school participation.
- Sensitisation and mobilisation of the community on the issue of child labour in sports goods industry.
- Involvement of other players on the issue of child labour in the sports goods industry like ILO/IPEC, FICCI, UNICEF and SCF etc.
- Community participation.
- Awareness among the manufacturers/ exporters/middlemen and masses
- Promotion of IGP such as stitching and making button holes.
- Reduced the number of household industrial activity.
- Improvement in the adult wage system.
- Improvement in the working condition of the women.
- Introduced community work culture.
- There has been enormous pressure on the industry and due to that they have started their own monitoring system to make their products free of child labour.
- Due to the sensitisation of the foreign buyers the women are made to work in the shade in order to make the buyers realise that the product is made by the adults.
- The industry owners have started their own rehabilitation and education programme for the children.