Friday 17 October 2014

Kailash Satyarthi’s Nobel Peace Prize: Decades of Fighting Child Slavery in India

Kailash Satyarthi: “The people from everywhere in the world should feel, number one, that slavery’s bad, that exploitation of children is bad, it has to go, and, secondly, they should have a belief that it is possible, it is happening, it is not that it is very pessimistic and say: oh they are poor, they are poor countries and that thing could happen. It is not true. Poor people, poor countries can bring about change, and it is happening here. So, they should have a belief that the change is possible, that we can make a better world to live in, and that will happen.”

Article from The New York Times
Oct. 10, 2014

NEW DELHI — Many years have passed, but a police chief named Amitabh Thakur can remember the precise moment when he first set eyes on Kailash Satyarthi, who won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

Mr. Satyarthi was lying on the ground, bleeding profusely from the head, while a group of men converged on him with bats and iron rods. They worked for the Great Roman Circus, which was illegally employing teenagers trafficked from Nepal as dancing girls. Mr. Satyarthi, a Gandhian activist in a simple white cotton tunic, had come to free them.

As he approached the scene, the chief realized he was interrupting a savage beating.

“I remember that when I reached this man, he was rather composed,” Mr. Thakur said. “I was very impressed, for the simple reason that a man was putting his life in danger for a noble cause.”

Mr. Satyarthi is not an international celebrity like 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, with whom he is sharing the prize. Instead, he has labored for three decades to shave away at the numbingly huge problem of child slavery in India, using undercover operatives and camera crews to find the airless workrooms and mine shafts where children were being kept.

The circus raid was a reminder of the factors that converge in favor of employers using bonded labor in India: caste differences, religious differences, political and economic leverage. About 28 million children ages 6 to 14 are working in India, according to Unicef. Mr. Satyarthi’s organization, called Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or Save the Children Mission, is credited with freeing some 70,000 of them. In 1994, he started Rugmark, now GoodWeave International, in which rugs are certified to have been made without child slavery.

Malala Yousafzai's Nobel Prize Speech

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai

Born: 12 July 1997, Mingora, Pakistan
Residence at the time of the award:United Kingdom
Prize motivation: "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education"
17-year-old Malala Yousafzai became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner for her work promoting young people's rights. Here she is, accepting the prrize. 

Thursday 28 August 2014

Your Food Ties to Slavery

Antonio Martinez stood in the hot sun, exhausted from a cross-country journey, and waited. Just 21 years old, he had traveled from Mexico to the U.S. with the promise of a well-paid construction job in California. But now he stood in a field in central Florida, listening to one man pay another man $500 to own him.

“I realized I had been sold like an animal without any compassion," Antonio thought at the time, more than 10 years ago.

He was right. In modern times, in the United States, Antonio had been sold into slavery in Florida's tomato fields.


Antonio is not alone
Unfortunately, Antonio’s case is not an isolated one. Many enslaved farmworkers in Florida pick the tomatoes that end up on sliced onto sandwiches, mixed into salads and stacked on supermarket shelves across the country. Over the last decade, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an award-winning farmworker advocacy organization, has identified more than 1,200 victims of human trafficking picking produce in Florida's fields.

These slaves often work for 10-12 hours a day, seven days a week. They are kept in crampt and dirty trailers, constantly monitored, and have wages garnished to pay a debt invented by the trafficker to keep victims enslaved. Many victims face threats to themselves or their families, regular beatings, sexual harassment and rape. They can't leave, can't seek help. They are in every way trapped.

Exploitation in the tomato industry isn't just the work of a handful of immoral individuals – it's the result of a supply chain which is set up to support the exploitation of the very people who keep it running.

Tuesday 26 August 2014

‘UBUNTU’: “I am because we are”

An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the kids that whoever got there first would win the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each other’s hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: ”UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”

‘UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: “I am because we are”.

 "Ubuntu is nothing more or less than compassion brought into colourful practice."

"Ubuntu is a concept that is present here in Africa but I also believe it is present in every human being if it is allowed to thrive and prosper."

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Prostitution: Victims or Whores?

by Captain Danielle Strickland

I’ve been immersed recently in prostitution legislation. A year and a half ago I was neck high in a raging debate around the legalising of prostitution in Canada. Some very vocal proponents were upholding the ‘rights of women’ to prostitute themselves. After all – it is their body. This neo-liberal feminism (far from the classic feminism that spear-headed abolition, women voting and the rights of children around the world) suggests that prostitution isn’t oppression but a profession and should be dignified with proper acceptance, education and wages – with protection of workers rights. There is a classic case of a ‘co-operative brothel’ operating right now (albeit illegally) in Victoria, BC on the west coast of Canada.

The problem is that the rhetoric around legalising prostitution sounds pretty good (in promised form anyway)… a society that no longer judges women or uses morality as a grid to punish those who don’t adopt a pure lifestyle… billed as a liberation and a right – it makes opposing it sound like a puritanical rant against the freedom of women. You’d think the only people left opposing legalizing prostitution were a bunch of old fashioned, purist holy rollers trying to save poor lasses from the den of iniquity and the fires of hell.

The truth is that classic feminism rages on and presents from a women’s right perspective, an impressive argument against legalising prostitution. Not simply theoretical in recent years they have presented a new model many governments around the world are adopting to combat violence and oppression against women through sexual slavery and prostitution.  It all started in Sweden.

Gunilla Ekberg was at the helm of the new legislation that suggested (with a proper understanding of prostitution) any society that seeks to uphold the rights of women and children must stop it. On it’s website at the height of the experiment Sweden had written, ‘we want the world to know that in Sweden, women and children are NOT FOR SALE.’ Bring it. (Swedish Model of Sex Industry Reform) This women’s right perspective suggests abolition as the only proper feminist response to prostitution. But why? Well, it’s all about understanding oppression. Let’s break it down:

Who are they?
Prostituted women are almost always oppressed women. Studies the world over suggest that women who end up working by selling their bodies are desperate. 84% of prostituted women in Australia (where prostitution has been legalised for 14 years in the State of Victoria – but more on that later!) said they would do anything else if they could. They are most likely to be uneducated, from low economic backgrounds, minorities, addicted and abused. It’s not exactly a poster child for women’s rights. Unlike the popular media suggests prostituted persons do not consists of young sexually liberated women choosing to exercise their ‘right’ to sell themselves  - they are overwhelmingly poor, uneducated and neglected – suffering from abuse. 

Saturday 19 July 2014

The Real Protagonists of 2014 Solidarity March

Yesterday, Solidarity Youth Path (SYP -Camino Juvenil Solidario-) received, undoubtedly, the most important support that 2014 Solidarity March can have had. Through BLLF (Bonded Labor Liberation Front) Societies, the real protagonists of this March, child slaves from brick factories in Mirpurkhas Sindh –Pakistan– have sent SYP in Spain photos where children can be seen holding their banners. Some in English and others in Urdu say: WE WANT EDUCATION and EDUCATION IS OUR RIGHT. These are their mottos.

Through these banners, they are joining their voices with the young people that have been demonstrating against unemployment and child slavery throughout the streets of Spain since Monday, 14 July. These photos put a human face to 400 million reasons to march. May they be the driving force for those who are walking, may they encourage more people to join this March during the following days and may this march not be over after its main meeting and performances in Puerta del Sol, Madrid, on 26 July. May our lives be a march along the path against unemployment and child slavery!

Below is the email, SYP (CJS) has received with the photos:

Hope you are doing well and the March in Spain is going well. Please find attached pictures from children working on Brik Lins in Mirpurkhas Sindh. These pictures are sent by Bonded Labor Liberation Front society Mirpurkhas in solidarity with the March in Spain by youth of SAIN.
The placard in Urdu language says 'Education is our Right'.
Best Regards
Nation Project Coordinator
BLLF societies

Click Read More to see more pics:

Tuesday 8 July 2014

2014 SOLIDARITY MARCH is just around the corner

Against Unemployment and Child Salvery
From 13 to 26 July

At the beginning of the 21st century, millions of child slaves in the world are exploited in many varied forms:

-       Children harvesting our food
-         Children manufacturing our goods
-         Children in mines
-         Child soldiers
-         Sexually exploited children
-         Children murdered for trafficking in human organs

More than 400 million children exploited as slaves!

By being deprived of their childhood, right to play and to education, they are being deprived of their lives.

It is child slavery. It is not child labour

In parallel to this outrageous fact, there are more than 1,600 million unemployed people in the world.

On 13th July, the Christian Cultural Movement and Solidarity Youth Path start the march they are organizing against these evils and hundreds of people will be marching throughout Spain for 15 days to culminate the march with performances and different actions in Puerta del Sol, Madrid, on 26th July.

During these 15 days there will be thousands of meetings; thousands of shared efforts which will let us experience solidarity and which will help us think of the next steps to take so that a whole generation of young people can discover the path of solidarity.

Monday 26 May 2014

Lesson Plan for the Film: Elysium

Elysium’s takes place in 2154 in a devastated Los Angeles.  Max -the hero- is now a man, but through flashes back to his childhood, we can learn he was an orphan raised by nuns alongside a girl named Frey, who remains his love-interest throughout his life.  Max has a checkered past -he’s a reformed thief, trying to scratch out a living among the rest of his poor peers on Earth.  They live in the shadow of Elysium, a utopian, wealthy and privileged world, devoid of illness, which shimmers in the sky like beacon, always visible but impossible to reach.

The film has many logical flaws and will not get points for originality. However, it has lots of strong sci-fi violence and teens will love it. The plot is very easy to follow and the film can be used to deal with and analyze topics such as migration, frontiers, the role of countries that do the dirty work and keep migrants far away from the first world (Kruger), injustice, poverty, bravery… Then, I believe it can be a good educational film and resource.


Before watching the film

Click on the link: 

Thursday 15 May 2014

Boko Haram Doesn’t Respond to #Hashtags

   The tone of this article is not in line with other articles published in this blog. This blog means to side with the impoverished, the oppressed, the victims... when giving ideas for a better education or commenting on different issues.
   The person who writes the article below centres his analysis on how the USA has tackled the drama of the Nigerian girls' kidnapping to the detriment of the USA and what should be done in the interest of this country. Notwithstanding, it serves the purpose of explaining the reason for the international uproar over this case. 

Extract from: The Daily Caller
By Joseph Miller

On the evening of April 142014, Boko Haram, a Nigerian Islamic terrorist group with links to al-Qaida kidnapped 276 school girls. The group initially said it took the girls so that they could become wives to its members. The group has changed its mind twice in the last two weeks, though, and has since offered to either sell the girls or trade them for imprisoned Islamic terrorists.

In the time since the incident took place, the world has expressed outrage over the incident — though the supposedly outraged nations have taken little action to address the situation. The kidnapping has galvanized the American public in particular, and it has become a trending topic on social media. Despite the uproar, the Obama White House has refused to take military action.

Why advocate for military action in Nigeria? While it is terrible that Boko Haram has kidnapped a large group of school girls, does the U.S. really have a national security interest in Nigeria? The answer is simple: Yes.

The United States has a national security interest in Nigeria and in countering and ultimately neutralizing nascent terrorist groups like BokoHaram. That interest is oil. Nigeria is the single largest producer of oil in Africa, and at one time was the world’s fourth-largest producer of liquid natural gas. The West African country is a member of OPEC and has been, up until recently, a relatively stable democracy. Additionally, Nigeria has not suffered from many of the issues that have caused instability in the Middle East, and has maintained good relations with the United States.

Tuesday 6 May 2014

More than 200 Nigeria girls abducted to be enslaved and sold

Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram has threatened to "sell" the hundreds of schoolgirls it abducted and enslaved three weeks ago.
Militant leader Abubakar Shekau sent a video obtained by the AFP news agency, in which he said for the first time that his group had taken the girls.
About 230 girls are still believed to be missing, prompting widespread criticism of the Nigerian government.
The Boko Haram insurgency has left thousands dead since 2009.
The girls were taken from their boarding school in Chibok, in the northern state of Borno, on the night of 14 April.
Boko Haram, which means "Western education is forbidden", has attacked numerous educational institutions in northern Nigeria.

Nigerian missing girls: Mothers' 'agony' for daughters

Monday 5 May 2014

SYP’s 2014 Solidarity March throughout Spain: against Unemployment and Child Slavery

Marching as a sign of protest has served to empower those who are victims of injustice. 

Solidarity YouthPath2014 SOLIDARITY MARCH throughout Spain in the second fortnight of July 2014 means to side with the over 400 million children who are victims of slavery, with the over 1,600 million adults who are unemployed, with those millions of people worldwide who suffer exploitation…
We challenge every person aiming for a just society to take part in this initiative. If you cannot march with us, during those days you can support our march by carrying out local actions to raise awareness of the CAUSES of Child Slavery and Unemployment 

-Discover Iqbal Masih’s life
- Join our actions against Child Slavery on 16th April.
- Get in touch with us to collaborate with 2014 Solidarity March.
- Count on us to make this initiative known to your friends, groups of people…

or call Pili: +34 617 806 563 

Join this March!

Elysium (2013)

Elysium is a 2013 American dystopian science fiction action thriller film written, directed, and co-produced by Neill Blomkamp, and starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. It was released on August 9, 2013. 
The film takes place on both a ravaged Earth, and a luxurious space habitat called Elysium. It explores political and sociological themes such as immigration, health care, exploitation, the justice system, and class issues.
In the year 2154, the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth. A man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.

Director: Neill Blomkamp
Writer: Neill Blomkamp 
Stars: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley  


Friday 18 April 2014

Lesson Plan for the Documentary Film: The Corporation


The following: Material for the Teacher also includes additional questionnaires to be used with the students to practise vocabulary and ensure their better understanding of the documentary.


1.  Ask students if they know what a corporation is. Providing examples can help them with their reply.  (Brief talk with the class)

What is a Corporation?

It is a very large usually diversified firm that meets certain legal requirements to be recognized as having a legal existence, as an entity, it is separate and distinct from its owners. Corporations are owned by their stockholders (shareholders) who share in profits and losses generated through the firm's operations, and have three distinct characteristics 
(1) Legal existence: a firm can (like a person) buy, sell, own, enter into a contract, and sue other persons and firms, and be sued by them. It can do good and be rewarded, and can commit offence and be punished.
(2) Limited liability: a firm and its owners are limited in their liability to the creditors and other obligors only up to the resources of the firm.
(3) Continuity of existence: a firm can live beyond the life spans and capacity of its owners, because its ownership can be transferred through a sale or gift  of shares.

2.  Divide the students into six teams. Allocate one questionnaire to each group. There are six questionnaires:


3.  Tell students to read the questions and write useful notes in order to be able to answer them while they are watching the film.


1.  Give each group some copies of the file “Who is Who” for them to know who the speakers in the documentary are.