Kanaka V’s story is a perfect example of where hard work and passion cause can take you. The girl, hailing from Karnataka, spent 12 years of life in drudgery as a child labourer. And now, she is all geared up to put forth her views on child rights in Parliament on November 20 on the occasion of Universal Children’s Day.

Kanaka is among the 30 children who have been selected from across the nation to deliver speeches at an event organised by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). She is the only one to represent Karnataka and will speak there for eight minutes.

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The Journey To Parliament

Kanaka (17) was born in a slum. While her mother worked as a maid  to eke out a living, her father’s physical disability kept him at home. Her mother sent her to school till class 4 but she had to drop out when her mother was diagnosed with cancer.

“I feel that though there are several laws to protect child rights, nothing is enforced effectively. I am going to stress the same in Parliament.” – Kanaka V

Kanaka worked in three houses to fend for the family. A few months later, Kanaka’s mother succumbed to the disease and the girl was forced to live with her relatives, who put her through emotional, physical and mental abuse.

Her relatives made Kanaka work in wedding halls. In one such hall in Yeshwanthpur, people from NGO SPARSHA spotted her. They rescued her in 2011.

At present, Kanaka is in her PU first year in a private college in the city. She scored 80 per cent in her Class 10 board exams and aspires to be a scientist.

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Stressing on the need to protect child rights

Kanaka believes this to be one of the happiest moments of her life. She says, “I feel that though there are several laws to protect child rights, nothing is enforced effectively. I am going to stress the same in Parliament.”

She adds, “There are thousands of children like me who have faced various kinds of abuses. Children in urban areas at least have people they can approach. But, there are children like me who suffer in slums and rural areas,” she added.

With determined girls like Kanaka, we hope that India gets rid of the issue of child labour and ensures a safe and happy childhood for all its children.

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Picture Credit: The New Indian Express
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