Natural Paving Products (UK) Ltd has partnered with Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi to combat child exploitation near its quarries and new factory in India.
Kailash is a child rights activist and founder of New Delhi-based Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), an NGO committed to eradicating child exploitation.
Many rural communities in India are subject to widespread child labor and underage marriage due to impoverished circumstances. The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Report estimates that 10 percent of the total labour force in India are children.
Natural Paving Products has committed to funding 10 new child-friendly villages part of its ‘Bal Mitra Gram’ programme over the next three years. The villages, set up by BBA, provide every child up to the age of 14 with a quality education and imposes a community ban on all child labour and child marriage.
Kailash commented: “It’s great to be working with a company that takes its ethical responsibilities so seriously. Child exploitation is a massive problem in rural India and I’m keen to work with more companies to see an end to this injustice.
Natural Paving Products is already doing so much to support rural communities with its investment into a new factory, but now with its further support of the child friendly village programme, it is also part of the solution to our child labour problem.”
In addition to supporting BBA, Natural Paving Products has opened a new factory in the region which will provide further job opportunities to the locals.
The new factory hosted the launch of Bal Mitra Gram programme, which was attended by over 2,000 people including key members of the stone industry, dignitaries and both the local and national media.
Mark Wall, Managing Director at Natural Paving Products, commented: “Our commitment to providing a quality product and service to our customers must be measurable at all stages of the supply chain and so we believe that it is our duty to ensure our Indian operations are run with the highest regard for ethical trading.
While we employ local people, pay fare wages and are members of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), we wanted to do more to make a lasting positive impact in the areas we operate – Kailash’s work was the perfect opportunity to be part of a bigger initiative that is transforming the lives of rural Indian communities.”
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