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Kailash Satyarthi: A Crusader for Child Rights

Kailash Satyarthi with a group of children
© Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation

“I dream for a world that is free of child labour, a world in which every child goes to school. A world in which every child gets his rights.” These are the words of Kailash Satyarthi who dedicated his life to upholding and protecting children’s rights. As a grassroots activist, Kailash has been a tireless advocate of children’s rights globally for more than four decades.

Kailash Satyarthi (formerly known as Kailash Sharma) was born in 1954 to a Brahman family in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh. As a young child of five years, he was deeply disturbed when he saw on the first day of school a small boy working with his cobbler father at the school gate. It did not take Kailash much time to understand the stark contrast between his life and that of the cobbler’s son. From his childhood, he had always been questioning what was wrong and unjust. At just 11, he collected used books and created a book bank for poor children. At the age of 15, he left his high-caste name (Sharma), swapping it for Satyarthi, which means ‘seeker of truth’.

Satyarthi earned a degree in electrical engineering from Samrat Ashok Technological Institute and went on to gain a post-graduate degree in high-voltage engineering before taking up a teaching post. An admirer of Mahatma Gandhi, he gave up his lucrative career to devote his time and energy to fight against the exploitation of children.

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Dr Sajith Cyriac, Ph.D.

Dr Sajith Cyriac, Ph.D. (Media Education), is the General Editor of Better Yourself Books. He is an established author with 22 books to his credit, including his latest title — Digital Wellness: Taking Control Of Your Online Life.