Fourteen-year-old Om Prakash Gurjar, who hails from Dwarapur village of Jaipur district, has been awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize for leading a campaign against child labour and slavery.
The peace prize, into its second year, is being given by a Netherlands-based group, Kids Rights. Om was awarded the prize by former South African president F W de Klerk in The Hague on Sunday evening.
Om was made to work as a farm labourer for three years and like millions of other child labourers in India, had to suffer regular beatings, although his wages could not even ensure two meals a day.
However, Om was determined not to get exploited, and built up a network that aims to give a birth certificate to every child, which would protect them from exploitation.
Om also campaigned for free education in his village and helped set up child-friendly villages in Rajasthan. Om has helped about 500 children get birth certificates, which proves their age and saves them from exploitation, slavery and trafficking.
It has been reported in a section of the media that employers are getting made false affidavits to prove that the child labourers are above the legal age.