Diya’s Story: A Persuasive Narrative
by Emma, Gr 6
Diya is a 13-year-old girl from India, who experienced the horrors of child labour. She was just 11 years old when she was sent to work in a carpet factory in Orogaram, India. Her family of five had been having financial troubles and found Diya going into child labour to be the only solution. Diya describes her time in the factory as, “ghastly, and simply inhumane.” This is Diya’s story. Diya was born and raised in Indore, India, where her parents owned a small clothes repair shop. The shop provided hardly any money to take care of her, her parents, her little sister, and her little brother. Friends of the family had been experiencing similar problems and had found a solution in sending their oldest daughter to work in a factory. That family then became much more financially stable. This led to Diya’s family doing the same. Diya was sent off along with a group of 20 other kids to a carpet factory in Orogaram. The next 6 months dragged on and on. Diya and the other kids worked 7 days a week, 15 hours a day. They worked in a stuffy basement with no ventilation, and hardly any daylight. Simply, two light bulbs dangled above the kids as they wearily worked on the carpets with their blistered hands. There were insufficient ways for the kids to be sanitary, as the owners refused to spend “a lot” of money on the working and living conditions in the factory. This caused many kids to get severely sick, soon including Diya. Diya had started experiencing cough attacks, fevers, stabbing chest pains, and shortness of breath. This was later found to be an acute lung infection. Because of these symptoms, Diya was unable to work and was later sent home. The 16-hour car ride back to Indore in the big white van was horrifying. Diya got simply one restroom break, one dried out bun of bread to eat, and some juice, while her symptoms were worsening. During these 16 hours, all she could think about was that she was “letting her family down”. Where would they get their money from now? Diya was dropped off in the street where her parents' shop was. There she stood. Sick and dirty on the busy street as the van sped away. Diya broke down in tears after returning to her parents' shop and finding it abandoned. She used all the strength she had left in her weak little body to walk over to the local police station to get help. There the police officers called up the city hall and were able to locate her parents. They had moved to a smaller shop in the city’s centre for a lower rent than the old one. Diya was immediately brought there. She and her parents filled up with immense joy as soon as they saw each other and quickly jumped into each other's arms. Diya later found out her parents had been trying to contact the factory about their move, but Diya had been brought to a different factory than they had been informed. Fortunately, after this traumatising experience, Diya and her family were able to get help from UNICEF. UNICEF provided the family with money for hospital care, therapy, education, a lawsuit against the factory, and child support. There are many stories like Diya’s. Far too many. According to ilo.org’s factsheet, in India alone, 10.1 million kids from the ages 5-14 are in child labour. That’s about 3.9% of that age group. All these Kids are being robbed of their right to education, protection against abuse, good health care, expansion of talent, play, free time, and many more rights. This is exactly why child labour needs to stop. UNICEF is one of the organisations making a difference. They are strengthening child protection systems, getting the message spread to people, collecting money, and working with several different governments in different countries to create programs against child labour. But they can’t help all children. There are simply too many children in need of help, but not enough money to take care of all of them. This message needs to be heard across society. Child labour needs to end.
* Background image is for illustrative purposes only.