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Success Story: Meet Amar Lal, Rescued By Kailash Satyarthi, A Former Child Labourer Who Is Now A Lawyer Advocating For The Rights Of Hundreds

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New Delhi: Amar Lal, a six-year-old from Rajasthan, lived a routine life with his family, members of the Banjara nomadic tribe. They would move from quarry to quarry, engaging in hard labour every day, indifferent to the passage of time. As the sky transitioned from blue to orange to black, the family tirelessly broke stones.

In 1980, Kailash Satyarthi, an internationally acclaimed child rights activist, emerged as a leading figure in the global movement against child slavery and exploitation. His efforts brought attention to the dangers of child labor, leading to the liberation of numerous children trapped in lives not of their choosing.

One such child, Amar Lal, experienced a transformative encounter with Satyarthi during a 2001 rally in his village. Spotted carrying heavy boulders, Lal’s life took a new trajectory after a brief conversation with Satyarthi, who convinced his parents that their child deserved a brighter future.

From a life in the quarries to the courtroom, Lal’s journey took an unexpected turn. Reflecting on that pivotal moment in 2001, Lal vividly recalls Satyarthi’s inquiry about his schooling, a concept foreign to his nomadic family. Satyarthi, resembling an “angel,” assured Lal’s parents that a world beyond the quarry existed, where children could play, laugh, and learn. Trusting Satyarthi, Lal, along with his two elder brothers, found themselves enrolled in Satyarthi’s balashram in Jaipur within days.

At the balashram, Lal received non-formal education and training, levelling the playing field with children his age. His memories are neatly compartmentalized into life before and after Satyarthi’s intervention. Lal discovered companions at the ashram whose stories highlighted his relative fortune. While his life had been tough, others had experienced the harshness of bonded labour under external employers.

The years at the ashram, although lacking frequent communication with his family, provided Lal with an education that became the foundation for his current advocacy work. Recognizing the cruelties of the world during his childhood, Lal also grasped the significance of changemakers.

When the time came to choose his academic path after Class 12, Lal felt no confusion. His calling was clear dedicating himself to the cause of child rights. Inspired by his own experiences, Lal, now a lawyer, collaborates with Satyarthi on cases and rescue operations, offering hope to countless children.

Lal’s work spans identifying villages with educational gaps and high rates of child marriage, conducting surveys to assess the socio-economic status of children, and raising awareness through programs. He defends children wrongly accused, advocates for exploited victims, and lobbies for stronger enforcement of children’s rights policies in India.

Among the 250-plus cases he has taken up, one holds special significance—his first. Lal encountered a family at the court, where a 14-year-old girl had been raped by a police officer. Shockingly, the initial lawyer had altered her statement, and the officer was on bail. Lal intervened, re-recorded the girl’s statement, and ensured the accused faced justice.

As a former victim of child labour, Lal emphasizes that everyone deserves equal opportunities. He urges people to speak up against injustices, leveraging the power of social media to raise awareness and involve authorities. For Lal, justice is about providing every child with the chance for a better life.

 

 



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