The project chosen by Kennington for 2002 is in Jharkand, until recently a part of Bihar, one of the poorest states in India. For many years thousands of children, aged five or six, in this area have been sold into bonded labour to work in the carpet industry. At 15 or 16 years their ‘owners’ find it cheaper to buy new and younger children, while the older ones are released, with no education or marketable skills.
A small charity started by Oxford residents Margaret and Michael Wright, and called Integrated Village Development Trust (IVDT) has raised money to establish a training centre in Garwha to help these children. IVDT use very good Indian NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) to run the Centre, and IVDT are asking us to help ‘graduates’ from the centre to become apprentices and set up their own small enterprises as carpenters, welders, cycle repairers, etc. To do this they would need a small loan to buy tools and equipment. Once established they would repay the loan and it would be recycled to new ‘graduates’.