India became free from British rule on 15 August 1947. It has been over seventy years now, but are we truly free from poverty, hunger and illiteracy – at least for our children? According to recent statistics, approximately 33 million children are employed in various forms of child labour in India.
June 12 is World Day Against Child Labour, an initiative launched by the International Labour Organization in 2002 with the objective to raise awareness and activism to prevent child labour.
On this day, we’d like the message to go out loud and clear that no child deserves to spend their childhood working in fields and factories. And, our messenger for this task? A children’s book, of course!
‘Freedom Run‘ (published by Pratham Books) by award-winning author Subhadra Sen Gupta and well-loved illustrator Tapas Guha tells the story of the forgotten children of India. Set in the Mirzapur and Bhadohi districts of Uttar Pradesh, where young children work long hours at looms to create world-famous carpets with exquisite designs, this action-packed comic tells the story of three pre-teen boys who work at a loom run by a cruel factory owner and whose lives are condemned to be spent in poverty and darkness. That is, until an unexpected window of opportunity opens up and there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel…
Sen Gupta and Guha are masters of the comic book format and ‘Freedom Run’ has an exciting interplay of text and art, which ensures that historical perspectives are embellished by visual perspectives.
Read it today to understand just why children are born to run free!