Foreign Policy Blogs

Hummanitarian Spotlight: Om Prakash Gurjar

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At only of five, Om Prakash Gurjar, was he was taken away from his parents and then held as a slave for the next three years. Om was forced to work in the fields, attend to cattle and even work with hazardous pesticides. Om was one of many victims of bonded labor in India, he was taken for his family to pay off the debt of his grandfather, who was unable to pay or work off the debt.

After years of suffering abuse, harsh living conditions and malnurishment, at the age of eight, Om was rescued, by workers from the charity Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA). a charity working to free children from child labor and give them a safe environment in which to receive an education.

Since being rescued Om has been campaigning for free education in Rajasthan, where he grew up, and has worked to help establish “child friendly villages”. The “child friendly villages” of Om's dream are safe places where children's rights are are ensured and child labor is a thing of the past. Om has also worked to see that children get birth certificates, a common right in the west, the lack of birth certificates is a door opener to exploitation.

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On November 19, 2006, at 14 years old, Om received the International Children's Peace Prize, which also comes with a $100,000 cash prize to be used on a children's project. At the time of his award Om, had been reunited with his family, but as his family is still to poor to support him, he has continued to live in the home for rehabilitated child slaves.

Related Articles:

Om's Children's Peace Prize Bio

Victory at last: Child 'slave’ gets peace prize

On a Mission Against Bondage

International Recognition for 14 Year Old Boy's Struggle Against Slavery

Indian Boy Wins World Peace Prize

 

Author

Cassandra Clifford
Cassandra Clifford

Cassandra Clifford is the Founder and Executive Director of Bridge to Freedom Foundation, which works to enhance and improve the services and opportunities available to survivors of modern slavery. She holds an M.A., International Relations from Dublin City University in Ireland, as well as a B.A., Marketing and A.S., Fashion Merchandise/Marketing from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Cassandra has previously worked in both the corporate and charity sector for various industries and causes, including; Child Trafficking, Learning Disabilities, Publishing, Marketing, Public Relations and Fashion. Currently Cassandra is conducting independent research on the use of rape as a weapon of war, as well as America’s Pimp Culture and its Impact on Modern Slavery. In addition to her many purists Cassandra is also working to develop a series of children’s books.

Cassandra currently resides in the Washington, D.C. metro area, where she also writes for the Examiner, as the DC Human Rights Examiner, and serves as an active leadership member of DC Stop Modern Slavery.


Areas of Focus:
Children's Rights; Human Rights; Conflict

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