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Discussion Guide for

“Young Stars
of India ”
A f t e r v ie w in g “ Y o ung Star s: India’s Wo r k ing C hildr en Speak Ou t, ”
use this guide to research the child labor issue in India, reflect on how the video impacted you,
recall what you learned, respond in tangible ways, reach out with life-changing help, resolve to
follow God’s Word, and rely on His goodness and power.

Research
» A n e s t im at ed 317 millio n childr en between ages 5 and 16—20 percent
of the total world population in this age group—were economically active in the year
2004. (Source: International Labor Organization (ILO), “End of Child Labor Within Reach,” 2006)

» The r e a r e 218 millio n child lab o r er s ages 5 to 17 worldwide. That’s


14 percent or 1 in 7 children in this age group worldwide who are child laborers.
(Source: ILO, “End of Child Labor Within Reach,” 2006)

» At l e ast 1 .2 millio n childr en are trafficked annually for child labor.


(Source: ILO, “End of Child Labor Within Reach,” 2006)

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» Be t w e e n 1994 and 2004, 35 percent of the population in India was living on less
than a dollar a day. (Source: UNICEF)

» C h il dr e n in India under the age of 14 outnumber the entire population of the


United States. Children under 14 make up 3.6 percent of the total labor force in India.
According to the Indian census of 1991, there are 11.28 million working children
under the age of 14 in India. (Source: Indian Embassy)

» A rt ic l e 3 2 o f t he Unit ed Nat io ns C o nv ent io n on the Rights of the


Child (UNCRC), which India signed in 1992, provides that the government should
protect children from work that is dangerous or might harm their health or their
education.

» The go v e rnment o f India is working to enforce laws that keep children in


school. In 2008 the Indian Parliament passed the Right to Education Bill, which makes
free and compulsory education a fundamental right for all children between the ages of
6 and 14. (Source: www.southasia.oneworld.net)

» The I ndia n go v er nment faces a shortage of teachers, many of whom already


exhibit only low skill levels. Furthermore, India lacks the educational infrastructure—
in both existing schools and new ones that must be built—necessary to carry out its
plans. (Source: www.southasia.oneworld.net)

» The a dult lit er acy r at e in India between 2000 and 2004 was 73 percent for
males and only 48 percent for females. Between 1996 and 2005, primary school
attendance rates were 79 percent for males and 72 percent for females.
(Source: UNICEF)

Reflect
» I m a gin e l i fe as a child liv ing in po v ert y in Bangalore, In d i a.
You know that you might not eat if you do not work, but you also believe that
education will help you build a better life in the long term. What would you prioritize
(obtaining food, supporting your family, staying safe, building your future, setting aside
leisure time, etc.) in deciding how to balance the need to work with the need to learn?
What sacrifices would you have to make?

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» The UNC R C calls o n go v er nment s to protect children from work that is
dangerous or harmful to their health. It is difficult, however, for India to enforce child
labor laws, and many children are exploited, even made into slaves. To you, which
story or image from the video best captures this injustice? How does it impact your
thoughts or feelings on the issue of child labor?

Recall
» The v ide o link s the child labor problem in India to the country’s inadequate
education system. What other problems in India are at the root of exploitative child
labor? To what extent can Akbar’s group address these root problems?

» Wo r l d V isio n wo r k s to bring children in India together and provide them with


basic skills in order to prepare them to enter mainstream schools. Why is education so
essential for these children, and how is it a means to reforming or ending child labor?

» What, acco r ding t o t he v ideo , is the danger in children pursuing money


at a young age?

» What a r e so me o f t he r ight s for which Akbar and the Yelenakshatra Child


Labor Association are fighting?

Respond
» O n e y o ung wo r k er said joining Yelenakshatra Child Labor Association has
helped him to better understand his rights. Another celebrated the fact that group
members had successfully pressured the government to close an illegal alcohol shop in
the area. How has God used Akbar’s vision of “children helping themselves” to achieve
change? What are some ways you can regularly contribute to a good cause on a small
scale like the children in Akbar’s group did?

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» O r ga n iz atio ns lik e Wo r ld Visio n and groups like Akbar’s must be careful
not to exacerbate the complex problem of child labor. By advocating to end child labor,
for example, children who need income may lose their jobs and seek work illegally,
which could be even more dangerous. What other approaches might be destructive to
ensuring the safety and continued growth and education of India’s children?

» A k b a r a dv o cat es fo r child labor reform at the national level (by meeting


with the Labor Commissioner, for example), but he also recognizes the importance of
traveling around India himself to train other child laborers and work at the grass-roots
level. What are the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches? What are some
other ways that Akbar—or even you—might get involved at either the grass-roots or
national level on this issue?

» A k b a r ’s mat ur e leader ship sets the bar for other child laborers. He
recognizes, however, that he cannot act alone. Which of the following groups should
be expected to assume the most responsibility for ensuring the rights of child laborers:
the individual children themselves, children’s groups like Yelenakshatra, private
organizations like World Vision, the government and enforcing officials, or individual
employers? According to the video, who in reality assumes the most responsibility?
What might your role be in this issue?

Reach Out
Consider making a difference in the following ways:

» Pr ay for children in need.

» S p o n s o r a child through World Vision. For just about a dollar a day, you’ll
provide your sponsored child with access to critical basics, such as clean water,
improved nutrition, healthcare, and education. Your gifts can help make a world of
difference for one child in India or elsewhere by helping him or her stay in school and
out of hazardous workplaces. For sponsorship information, visit
www.worldvisionresources.com and click on the “sponsor a child” icon.

» E ducat e yo ur self about the goods you buy. Products with an “ethically
certified” label, such as fair trade, do not support child labor.

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Resolve
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the
believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
— 1 Timothy 4:12

If I have denied justice to my menservants and maidservants when they had a grievance
against me, what will I do when God confronts me? What will I answer when called to
account?
— Job 31:13-14

The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.
— Proverbs 29:7

Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out
against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.
— James 5:4

Rely
P r ay t hat:

G o d w il l k e e p c hildr en in India safe as they go to work and school, and that


they will find strength, hope, and rest in him despite their struggles.

G o d w il l c o nt in ue t o inspir e and eq uip children like Akbar to be “agents of


change” in reforming child labor, and that his love will continue to drive their movement and
reach others.

G o d w il l c o nv ict r espo nsib le adult s —from parents and government officials


to employers of children and individuals around the world—to fight both for children’s labor
rights and against the root problems causing this issue. with those who stayed behind.

The Scripture in this resource is from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright ©
1973, 1978,1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

During the preparation of this resource, all citations, facts, figures, Internet URLs, and other cited information were
verified for accuracy. World Vision Resources has made every attempt to reference current and valid sources, but we
cannot guarantee the content of any source and we are not responsible for any changes that may have occurred since
our verification. If you find an error in, or have a question or concern about, any of the information or sources listed
within, please contact World Vision Resources. PA G E 5 O F 6
About World Vision
W o r l d V is io n is a Christian humanitarian organization
dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities
worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of
poverty and injustice. Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, World
Vision serves alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of
God’s unconditional love for all people. We see a world where each
child experiences “fullness of life” as described in John 10:10. And we
know this can be achieved only by addressing the problems of poverty
and injustice in a holistic way. That’s how World Vision is unique:
We bring 60 years of experience in three key areas needed to help
children and families thrive: emergency relief, long-term development,
and advocacy. And we bring all of our skills across many areas of
expertise to each community we work in, enabling us to care for
children’s physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Partnering with World Vision provides tangible ways to honor


God and put faith into action. By working, we can make a lasting
difference in the lives of children and families who are struggling to
overcome poverty. To find out more about how you can help, visit
www.worldvision.org.

About World Vision Resources


E nding gl o b a l po v ert y and injustice begins with education:
understanding the magnitude and causes of poverty, its impact on
human dignity, and our connection to those in need around the world.

World Vision Resources is the publishing ministry of World Vision.


World Vision Resources educates Christians about global poverty,
inspires them to respond, and equips them with innovative resources
to make a difference in the world.

For more information about our


resources, contact:
World Vision Resources
Mail Stop 321
P.O. Box 9716
Federal Way, WA 98063-9716
Fax: 253-815-3340
wvresources@worldvision.org
www.worldvisionresources.com

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