Faces of Freedom
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In May this year, GoodWeave found and rehabilitated 6 teenagers from multiple looms in Bhadohi (Uttar Pradesh, India). Youngest of these was 14-year-old Rikel from a small village called Inayatpur in Malda district.  It was found that unlike his counterparts, Rikel had come to Bhadohi with his family’s consent and in company of a distant relative. After a 3-month stint in a loom last year, he started working again this April without any external or familial pressure. What stimulated a young person of 13, to travel across the state to become a wage labourer? 
Rikel was never an ideal student. Hardly motivated to learn in the village school, he dropped out of mainstream education after completing his 4th grade in 2012. Rikel’s father was a construction worker and earned subsistence through petty assignments in industrial cities. He soon developed tuberculosis, treatment of which drained the family of all their funds and a 760 sq. yard land they once owned. Given the situation Rikel’s family found themselves in, and his mindset towards further education, his parents agreed to Rikel’s plan of accompanying his relative to Bhadohi. Last year, Rikel received only Rs. 1500 for his contribution over a quarter of a year. When asked how much money he got (per carpet) this year, he smiled and expressed that he was rehabilitated before he got his first payment. 
Rehabilitating Rikel back to mainstream education was a prolonged process, for both him and his family seemed unsure. After repeated follow-up visits to Rikel’s home, they were convinced and Rikel’s mother herself came to get him enrolled in the govt. primary school in Inayatpur. By sponsoring whatever expenses Rikel’s family might incur for his schooling, GoodWeave has been ensuring that the parents do not feel burdened by an investment, the fruits of which they cannot yet see. An effort is also being made to ensure that Rikel is properly compensated by his sub-contractor for any non payments to his work. When asked if he has a goal now, “I’ll become a businessman in Bhadohi”, he responds with wit.

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