Kailash Satyarthi receives prestigious Harvard award
Harvard University awarded the prestigious "Humanitarian of the Year" award to children's rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, for his contributions towards abolition of child slavery and in the field of child rights. Satyarthi recently succeeded in getting welfare related and child protection clauses included in the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, aiming to end trafficking, slavery and violence.
Born in 1954, Satyarthi left his career as a lecturer to become Secretary-General of the NGO Bonded Labour Liberation Front in 1980, and went on to start the Bachpan Bacho Andolan (Save Childhood Movement) in the same year. In 1998, Satyarthi organised the Global March Against Child Labour across 103 countries. He was also President of the Global Campaign for Education from 1999-2011.
In 1994, Kailash Satyarthi founded Rugmark- a certification programme dedicated to ending child labour in the rug-making industry. Companies which pass inspection are allowed to attach a logo/mark certifying that their product was made sans child labour. In September 2015, Satyarthi launched Full Stop- a social media campaign against child sexual abuse, aimed to empower and educate survivors, victims and their parents.
Satyarthi is credited with freeing over 83,000 children across 144 countries. He is largely responsible for the adoption of Convention No.182 by the International Labour Organisation which has now become a principal guideline for governments worldwide.
Satyarthi has received several prestigious awards for his contribution towards children's rights. The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award (US) in 1995, the Golden Flag Award (Netherlands) in 1998, Freedom Award (US) in 2006, Gold medal of the Italian Senate in 2007, Defenders of Democracy Award (US) in 2009, are some among the many. In 2014, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Previous winners of Harvard's "Humanitarian of the Year" include heavyweights like Martin Luther King Sr., Kofi Annan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Ban Ki-moon; Nobel laureates like John Hume and Jose Ramos-Horta; and Thorbjorn Jagland, head of the Nobel Peace Prize committee.
Kailash Satyarthi became the first Indian to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, when he shared the award with Pakistani child activist Malala Yousafzai. He is also the first Indian to win Harvard's "Humanitarian of the Year".