Kailash Satyarthi

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Kailash Satyarthi
Kailash Satyarthi March 2015.jpg
Kailash in 2015
Kailash Sharma [1] [2]

(1954-01-11) 11 January 1954 (age 65)
Known forActivism for children's rights and children's education
Spouse(s)Mrs. Sumedha Kailash
ChildrenMs. Asmita Satyarthi (daughter), Mr. Bhuwan Ribhu (son)
Awards Nobel Peace Prize (2014)
The Aachener International Peace Prize, Germany (1994)
The Trumpeter Award (1995)
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award (1995)
De Golden Wimpel Award (1998)
La Hospitalet Award (1999)
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Award (1999)
Heroes acting to End Modern Day Slavery by US State Department (2007)
Alfonso Comin International Award (2008)
Medal of the Italian Senate (2007)
Defenders of Democracy Award (2009)
Harvard Humanitarian Award (2015) [3]
Website KailashSatyarthi.net

Kailash Satyarthi (born Kailash Sharma; 11 January 1954) is an Indian children's rights activist. He is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan, Global March Against Child Labour, Global Campaign for Education, Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation, and Rugmark now known as GoodWeave International.

Children's rights are the human rights of children with particular attention to the rights of special protection and care afforded to minors. The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) defines a child as "any human being below the age of eighteen years, unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier." Children's rights includes their right to association with both parents, human identity as well as the basic needs for physical protection, food, universal state-paid education, health care, and criminal laws appropriate for the age and development of the child, equal protection of the child's civil rights, and freedom from discrimination on the basis of the child's race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, disability, color, ethnicity, or other characteristics. Interpretations of children's rights range from allowing children the capacity for autonomous action to the enforcement of children being physically, mentally and emotionally free from abuse, though what constitutes "abuse" is a matter of debate. Other definitions include the rights to care and nurturing. There are no definitions of other terms used to describe young people such as "adolescents", "teenagers", or "youth" in international law, but the children's rights movement is considered distinct from the youth rights movement. The field of children's rights spans the fields of law, politics, religion, and morality.

Nobel Peace Prize One of five Nobel Prizes established by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor, and armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Chemistry, Physics, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature. Since March 1901, it has been awarded annually to those who have "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".

Bachpan Bachao Andolan is an India-based movement campaigning for the rights of children. It was started in 1980 by Nobel Laureate Mr. Kailash Satyarthi. Its focus has centred on ending bonded labour, child labour and human trafficking, as well as demanding the right to education for all children. It has so far freed more than 83,000 children from servitude, including bonded labourers, and helped in their successful re-integration, rehabilitation and education.


To date, Kailash Satyarthi and his team at Bachpan Bachao Andolan have liberated more than 87,000 [4] children in India from child labour, slavery and trafficking. In 1998, Satyarthi conceived and led the Global March against Child Labour, [5] an 80,000 km-long march across 103 countries to put forth a global demand against worst forms of child labour. This became one of the largest social movements ever on behalf of exploited children. The demands of the marchers, which included children and youth (particularly the survivors of trafficking for forced labour, exploitation, sexual abuse, illegal organ transplants, armed conflict etc.) were reflected in the draft of the ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour. The following year, the Convention was unanimously adopted at the ILO Conference in Geneva.

Child labour employment of children

Child labour refers to the exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially or morally harmful. Such exploitation is prohibited by legislation worldwide, although these laws do not consider all work by children as child labour; exceptions include work by child artists, family duties, supervised training, and some forms of child work practiced by Amish children, as well as by Indigenous children in the Americas.

Child trafficking in India

India has a high volume of Child trafficking. There have been many cases where children just disappear overnight, as many as one every eight minutes, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. In some cases, children are taken from their homes to be bought and sold in the market. In other cases, children are tricked into the hands of traffickers by being presented an opportunity for a job, when in reality, upon arrival they become enslaved. In India, there is a large number of children trafficked for various reasons such as labour, begging, and sexual exploitation. Because of the nature of this crime; it is hard to track; and due to the poor enforcement of laws, it is difficult to prevent. Because of this, it is impossible to have exact figures regarding this issue. India is a prime area for child trafficking to occur, as many of those trafficked are from, travel through or destined to go to India. Though most of the trafficking occurs within the country, there is also a significant number of children trafficked from Nepal and Bangladesh. There are many different causes that lead to child trafficking, with the primary reason being poverty and weak law enforcement. The traffickers that take advantage of children can be from another area in India, or could even know the child personally. Children who return home after being trafficked often face shame from their communities, rather than being welcomed home.

Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention

The Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, known in short as the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, was adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1999 as ILO Convention No 182. It is one of eight ILO fundamental conventions.

Kailash Satyarthi has been a member of a UNESCO body established with the goal of providing “Education for All” and has been on the board of the Fast Track Initiative (now known as the Global Partnership for Education). Satyarthi has also served on the board and committee of several international organisations including the Center for Victims of Torture (USA), the International Labor Rights Fund (USA), and the Cocoa Foundation.

UNESCO Specialised agency of the United Nations

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the successor of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is an international organization focused on getting all children into school for a quality education in the world’s poorest countries. GPE works with donors, developing countries, international organizations, foundations, the private sector, teacher organizations, and civil society organizations.

The Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) is an international non-profit headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota that provides direct care for those who have been tortured, trains partner organizations in the United States and around the world who can prevent and treat torture, conducts research to understand how best to heal survivors, and advocates for an end to torture.

Satyarthi was among Fortune magazine’s ‘World’s Greatest Leaders’ in 2015 [6] and featured in LinkedIn’s Power Profiles List in 2017 & 2018. [7] His work has been recognized through various national and international honours and awards including the Nobel Peace Prize of 2014, which he shared with Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan.

<i>Fortune</i> (magazine) magazine

Fortune is an American multinational business magazine headquartered in New York City, United States. It is published by Fortune Media Group Holdings, owned by Thai businessman Chatchaval Jiaravanon. The publication was founded by Henry Luce in 1929. The magazine competes with Forbes and Bloomberg Businessweek in the national business magazine category and distinguishes itself with long, in-depth feature articles. The magazine regularly publishes ranked lists, including the Fortune 500, a ranking of companies by revenue that it has published annually since 1955.

LinkedIn Social networking website for people in professional occupations

LinkedIn is a business and employment-oriented service that operates via websites and mobile apps. Founded on December 28, 2002, and launched on May 5, 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking, including employers posting jobs and job seekers posting their CVs. As of 2015, most of the company's revenue came from selling access to information about its members to recruiters and sales professionals. As of March 2019, LinkedIn had 610 million registered members in 200 countries.

2014 Nobel Peace Prize

The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize was shared, in two equal parts, between Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education". Satyarthi is from India, the seventh person from his country to win a Nobel Prize and the second to win the Peace Prize after Mother Teresa, while Yousafzai is a Muslim from Pakistan, the second Nobel Prize winner from her country after Abdus Salam, the forty-seventh woman to win the Nobel Prize, and at the age of 17 years, the youngest winner of a Nobel Prize in any field.

More recently, Satyarthi led a nationwide march, Bharat Yatra, [8] in India covering 19,000 km (12,000 mi) in 35 days, in demand for strong legislation against child rape, child sexual abuse and trafficking.

Child sexual abuse, also called child molestation, is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of child sexual abuse include engaging in sexual activities with a child, indecent exposure, child grooming, child sexual exploitation or using a child to produce child pornography.

Early life

Satyarthi was born in Vidisha, a small town in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh in a middle class family. Satyarthi was the second child and had an elder brother. His father was a police constable (he retired subsequently as a Head Constable) and his mother was an uneducated, yet highly idealistic housewife. As per Satyarthi, this exceptionally idealistic and helpful nature of his mother had a big impact on him. He grew in a locality (mohalla) which had Hindus and Muslims living amicably with each other, with a Hindu temple on one side and a Masjid on the other. As a four year old toddler, he first learnt to read Urdu from the maulvi at the neighboring mosque and subsequently learnt Hindi and English in school. [9]

Vidisha City in Madhya Pradesh, India

Vidisha, anciently known as Besnagar, is a city in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India.

Madhya Pradesh State in India

Madhya Pradesh is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal, and the largest city is Indore, with Jabalpur, Gwalior, Ujjain and Sagar being the other major cities. Nicknamed the "Heart of India" due to its geographical location, Madhya Pradesh is the second largest Indian state by area and the fifth largest state by population with over 75 million residents. It borders the states of Uttar Pradesh to the northeast, Chhattisgarh to the southeast, Maharashtra to the south, Gujarat to the west, and Rajasthan to the northwest. Its total area is 308,252 km2. Before 2000, when Chhattisgarh was a part of Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh was the largest state in India and the distance between the two furthest points inside the state, Singoli and Konta, was 1500 km. Konta is presently in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh state.

Satyarthi's experiences when young with poverty and lack of school access for all children had a significant effect on him. [10] He made efforts when young to try to change these inequalities. [11] [12] due to the circumstances of their birth.

He attended Government Boys Higher Secondary School in Vidhisha, and completed his degree in electrical engineering [13] at Samrat Ashok Technological Institute in Vidisha (then affiliated to Barkatullah University, now to Rajiv Gandhi Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya) [1] [14] [2] and a post-graduate degree in high-voltage engineering. He then joined a college in Bhopal as a lecturer for a few years. [15]


Kailash Satyarthi Kailash Satyarthi.jpg
Kailash Satyarthi

In 1980, Sathyarthi gave up his career as an electrical engineer and founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save Childhood Movement) that year. [16] [17] He conceived and led the Global March Against Child Labor [18] and its international advocacy body, the International Center on Child Labor and Education (ICCLE), [19] which are worldwide coalitions of NGOs, teachers and trades unionists. [20] [21] He has also served as the President of the Global Campaign for Education, from its inception in 1999 to 2011, having been one of its four founders alongside ActionAid, Oxfam and Education International. [22]

In 1998 Satyarthi conceived and led the Global March against Child [5] Labour traversing across 103 countries covering 80,000 km with a demand for an International Law on Worst Forms of Child Labour. This eventually led to the adoption of ILO Convention No. 182 on worst forms of child labour.

In addition, he established GoodWeave International (formerly known as Rugmark) as the first voluntary labelling, monitoring and certification system of rugs manufactured without the use of child-labour in South Asia. [23] [24] [25] This first of its kind social labeling initiative in the late 1980s and early 1990s undertook focused campaigns on raising consumer awareness on issues relating to the accountability of global corporations with regard to socially responsible consumerism,trade and supply chains. [26] Satyarthi has highlighted child labor as a human rights issue as well as a welfare matter and charitable cause. He has argued that it perpetuates poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, population growth, and other social problems, [27] and his claims have been supported by several studies. [28] [29] He has also had a role in linking the movement against child labour with efforts for achieving "Education for All". [30] He has been a member of a UNESCO body established to examine this and has been on the board of the Fast Track Initiative (now known as the Global Partnership for Education). [31] Satyarthi has served on the board and committee of several international organisations including the Center for Victims of Torture (USA), the International Labor Rights Fund (USA), and the International Cocoa Foundation. He brought child labour and slavery into the post-2015 development agenda for the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals. [32]

Satyarthi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 "for the struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education". [33] Satyarthi is the first natural born Indian Nobel Peace Laureate.

Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi. Picture taken at the press conference the day before they received the Nobel Peace Prize 2014. Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi.jpg
Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi. Picture taken at the press conference the day before they received the Nobel Peace Prize 2014.


PM Modi meets Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi PM Modi meets Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi.jpg
PM Modi meets Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi
President Obama greets a young girl who was the guest of Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi in New Delhi President Obama greets a young girl who was the guest of Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi in New Delhi.jpg
President Obama greets a young girl who was the guest of Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi in New Delhi

Bharat Yatra

The Bharat Yatra, was launched by KSCF to spread awareness about child trafficking and sexual abuse. Launched in Kanyakumari on September 11, 2017 by Kailash Satyarthi, this campaign marched through seven routes covering 22 Indian states and Union Territories, and over 12,000 km. The campaign was aimed at starting a social dialogue about child sexual abuse and child trafficking, hitherto taboo issues in India, in order to protect children vulnerable within their homes, communities, schools.The campaign collaborated with 5,000 civil society organisations, more than 60 Indian faith leaders, 500 Indian political leaders, 600 local, state and national bodies of the Indian government, 300 members of the Indian judiciary, and 25,000 educational institutions across India.

Bharat Yatra saw the participation of more than 1,200,000 marchers over 35 days and led to Criminal Law Amendment Act 2018 with strict deterrent against child rape. The Yatra also resulted in the Anti-Human Trafficking Bill being passed by the 16th Lok Sabha. [40]

Personal life

He lives in New Delhi, India. His family includes his wife, a son, daughter-in-law, a grandson, daughter and a son-in-law. [41] His passion is to cook for underprivileged children. [42]

Awards and honours

Satyarthi has been the subject of a number of documentaries, television series, talk shows, advocacy and awareness films. [43] In September 2017 India Times listed Satyarthi as one of the 11 Human Rights Activists Whose Life Mission Is To Provide Others With A Dignified Life [44] Satyarthi has been awarded the following national and international honours:

Reception in India

The India legal system had only recently made it illegal to employ any child below the age of 14. [63] The law was questioned by Livemint, a financial newspaper from India, said such a law would make child labour go underground, and cause reduced wages. [64]


See also

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Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
Laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize
With: Malala Yousafzai
Succeeded by
Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet