by Corinne Yank, GoPhil Communications Manager
GoPhil partner AVANI Women & Child Rights in India was recently awarded Global Fund for Children’s 2020 Juliette Gimon Courage Award alongside another child rights organization, Challenging Heights, based in Ghana. AVANI and Challenging Heights are based in different regions of the world, but are both are led by courageous activists who survived being forced into child labor at just six years old.
“Both Avani and Challenging Heights are led by survivors of forced child labor and modern slavery, who have dedicated their careers to protecting other young people from the same injustices.” – Global Fund for Children
More than 35,000 children work in industries like brickyards and sugarcane factories in the district of Kolhapur. AVANI’s primary focus is on high-risk industries like these, where migrant and child laborers are forced to work. Through the power of policy analysis, advocacy and bold action, AVANI mobilizes grassroots support, holds the local government accountable, advances policy change and secures financial investments that benefit thousands of the region’s most vulnerable children. Incredibly, the AVANI team has been highly successful in motivating families and the brickyard owners to stop sending children to work, having now reduced child labor in the region’s brickyards by 95%.
“Avani has been fighting for children’s rights in India for the last 20 years. This award affirms that the raised collective voices of so many children is being heard around the world. The blight of children being rescued from child laborers, trafficking and early marriage has been brought to light. However, there is still much work to be done. It is our hope that this award will open the eyes of people around the world to the ongoing efforts of Avani to protect India’s children. Thank you for helping to make that possible.”
• Anuradha Bhosale, AVANI •
During times of crisis, cycles of abuse and exploitation are often amplified; children who are already at-risk of exploitation face new and compounding risks, and survivors of trafficking are more likely to be re-trafficked. AVANI’s work fiercely protecting and advocating for the rights of children in India is now more important than ever.