In Bal Ashram a home for children 70 boys are recovering from child labor Many of them also want to liberate children just as the ashram founder did Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi A still remembers exactly how he took Akilesh from the field in 1999 It was 72 children back then one of the biggest rescue operations At 26 Kailash Satyarthi had started filled to his depths with an angry energy to free the first children Nothing compares to the energy of youth he says At the time he had actually only intended to create a newspaper alongside his career as an electrical engineer to right this injustice Then in 1981 a desperate father knocked on my door The man had fled life as a slave at a brick fac tory and had left his wife and 15 year old daughter behind Someone had told him that Satyarthi was interested in this issue I thought to myself What would I do if it were my sister I wouldn t just write about it Without further ado he rented a truck invited a few friends and drove to the brick factory to free the girl and all the other slaves there But it went awry The owner threw him and his friends off the premises with the help of the police It was a short lived defeat however Satyarthi founded the Save the Childhood Movement ensured that the ban on slave labor was applied in practice and liberated the girl as well as many others Finally he and his fellow cam paigners were able to secure the Child Labor Act which is now in force throughout the country The rescue operations of Satyarthi s foundation and its predecessor the Save the Childhood Movement are now notorious especially in India s textile industry where a lot of clothing is made for the European market In Europe especially there is a great interest among the youth to get active against injustices says Satyarthi This gives him courage for his latest project the 100 Million Campaign If every privileged child takes a stand for an oppressed child the world will be a better place he says Even though his former rage is less notice able and the Nobel Prize winner with his calm deliberate manner is more reminiscent of a cleric the fighting spirit and street marches are still important to him according to employees Child labor is still widespread in India The activists spy out the companies doors gates escape routes Then they come back with reinforcements and the police who usually only find out about their destination on the way there The public Child Welfare Committee takes the liberated children into its care identifies their parents and sends them back where they often once again end up in child labor That is why rehabilitation from child labor is very important says Satyarthi He has built places like Bal Ashram which has existed since 1998 for just this purpose With every classroom door that opens for a child millions of opportunities open says a poster in his office When a classroom door opened for the then five year old Kailash Satyarthi for the first time he would have liked to have run straight back out again There were more im portant things to do on the way to school he had seen a boy his age sitting kilesh is missing three fingers on his right hand But the young man in his late twenties proudly stretches this hand into the air like a trophy We fight for our freedom and we will take it even if you don t want to give it to us he calls in a voice that is far too loud for this office in the center of Delhi Next to him stands a gray haired man in a white robe clapping his hands and shouting Stop child labor over and over It s Kailash Satyarthi Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and found er of the Kailash Satyarthi Children s Foundation KSCF in Delhi The man who changed Akilesh s life forever Akilesh lost his fingers in another life when he was seven years old and forced to work in a field as a child slave His hand got caught in a combine harvester Back then free dom and dignity were categories re served for others It was unimaginable that one day he would demand them at the top of his voice not only for him self but for all child laborers in India The boy Akilesh whose family had worked as slaves for four genera tions was to become a fighter Satyarthi 35THE MAGAZINE 1 19 TEXT Eva Wolfangel PHOTOGRAPHY Enrico Fabian

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