In October 2006 the Governement introduced new laws banning children under the age of 14 from working. Although the laws protect children and ban the use of young workers in hazardous industries, they remain ineffective in many areas. Thousands of children continue to work in or are involved in silk weaving and embroidery. Silk weaving forms the basis for some of India's most highly prized clothing, particularly saris. For many years children were central to the work as there was a myth that children's fingers were more nimble than adults' for such jobs. The children were often harmed by cramped working conditions and the loud music which was played with the intention of keeping them entertained.
Many parents say crippling poverty forces them to send their children, sometimes as young as five or six, to work in people's homes or even factories. Most of these children are made to work in unhealthy conditions for very long hours and paid poorly. Wages are usually pocket money of 50 rupees (just over $1) a week, and at the end of the month employers typically send money to the child's parents typically around 800 rupees (roughly $17)
It is estimated that more than 12.6 million child workers in India. 53% of children drop out before finishing seventh grade (12-13 years old). Although projects have been set up to send children back to school, due to the introduction of the new law, , India will struggle to meet universal primary education, as set out by the UN's Millenium Development Goals.
Ten Thousand Villages (www.tenthousandvillages.com) is a fair trade market place which supports local communities and their artisans around the world, including India, using fair trade . Its goals include educating parents to send their children to school, to afford adequate food and clothing and to improve the quality of their lives and thair communities.
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