- What we do
- Where we work
- Get involved
- Donate now
04 Jul 2012
To mark our recent 10th anniversary, EveryChild presented 10 for 10 awards to 10 inspiring individuals and organisations working to improve the lives of vulnerable children across the world. At just 15, courageous Nandhini was our youngest award winner.
Nandhini’s age meant that she was unable to travel to the UK in May to receive her award alongside her fellow 10 for 10. But we didn’t want Nandhini to miss out so, on a recent visit to India, EveryChild staff headed to the teenager’s village in Tamil Nadu to honour her work with children in child labour, and those at risk of dropping out of school.
Nandhini’s friends and family joined with our staff and representatives from our partner, READ, in celebration of her championing of children’s rights.
Upon receiving the award Nandhini said,
“I am very honoured and extremely happy to receive this award. It motivates me to do more work in my village so that all children are protected and do not have to go to work. Instead, they can go to school, play, learn and live with their family.”
Due to extreme poverty, Nandhini’s parents – who work as agricultural labourers – were forced to move to a nearby city to work in a textile mill in order to make ends meet. As Nandhini was their only child, she had to drop out of school to look after their cattle.
After a year, Nandhini and her family returned to their village, where EveryChild’s partner organisation READ had started a child activity centre focusing on poor, marginalised children. The organisation approached Nandhini and encouraged her to attend their activity centre. With the support of READ and her parents, Nandhini eventually re-enrolled in school and got her studies back on track.
Inspired by READ’s work, Nandhini has now been campaigning on behalf of child labourers for the past five years, so they are able to access quality education and secure a better future for themselves.
Nandhini is also part of the village’s child parliamentary activities – an initiative set up to encourage children to become active citizens, exercise their rights and find solutions to issues such as child labour. Nandhini has also met with various government agencies in India, where’s she’s asked them to ensure that every child has the right go to school and receive a quality education.
We think it’s safe to say that Nandhini is an inspiration to all and truly deserving of an EveryChild ‘10 for 10’ award.