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End Bonded Labour Campaign 2016 launches in Tamil Nadu

When they were rescued from a rock quarry in 2012 little did Arul and Pachayamma know that one day they would be traveling across Tamil Nadu to publicly share their story as part of the ‘End Bonded Labour’ awareness campaign.

Launched on November 1, 2016 at Thiruvallur District, the campaign consists of a troupe of experienced puppeteers who will use their theatrical performances to sensitise viewers across 13 districts of Tamil Nadu. Arul and Pachayamma will be speaking at each of the events on the perils of bonded labour, the vulnerable community’s rights under the law and how to access government assistance.

“In past years, we have observed positive responses from the vulnerable community to awareness programmes. We have noticed that the rate of bonded labour is higher in certain districts of Tamil Nadu, and so we are focusing on these 13 districts,” said Hephzibah Sunder of IJM.

Uniting the government and a number of other NGOs, the campaign will feature a number of speakers and performers. “We want to emphasise that people can approach the government and have confidence in them, because unless they do, the government won’t know that they need help,” said Arul and Pachayamma.

Arul and Pachayamma graduated from IJM’s rehabilitative aftercare programme for bonded labourers in 2014. They were elected as community leaders by their peers and have been using their story to inspire and educate others on the crime of bonded labour.

The awareness programme will continue until November 14, with a final event held in Madurai.