A Thousand Satyarthis

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Commemorating the conferment of Nobel Peace Prize to Kailash Satyarthi in recognition of his relentless fight against child labour and exploitation, a unique initiative of Rotary Club of Tiruchirapalli ­Shakthi, RI District 3000, gave a visual treat — a thousand little Satyarthis, at the Jegan Matha Matriculation Higher Secondary School grounds in Tiruchi (Tamil Nadu).

The Rotarians had organised a Mask Movement wherein 1,000 students donned face masks depicting Satyarthi. This was to focus attention on the Nobel laureate’s tireless campaign to uphold children’s rights. He was hugely instrumental in getting more than 80,000 children out of hotels, homes, mechanic shops, industries and agri fields, freeing them for education, through his Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood campaign). He had earlier captured the world’s attention by creating the international tag, ‘Rugmark,’ that endorsed rugs and carpets which were not produced by factories employing child labour. Through this he raised awareness among Western clients not to support child labour. He shared this year’s Nobel Peace Prize with Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai.

The Mask Movement was presided over by Regional Passport Officer K Balamurugan and District Social Welfare Officer Usha. It was fascinating to see the school children, all masked as Satyarthi, in a ‘textbook formation,’ reiterating the activist’s campaign for children’s education.

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