Against Rug Slavery
THE 2014 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to founder of the GoodWeave international rug certification scheme to end child slavery in the rug industry, Kailash Satyarthi.
He received the award jointly with Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan after her campaigning for education for girls.
After being shot she was airlifted to Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham, where she was treated for life-threatening injuries.
Malala, now 17, has since continued to campaign for girls’ education, speaking before the UN, meeting Barack Obama, being named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people and last year publishing the memoir I am Malala.
Kailash Satyarthi was praised by the Norwegian Nobel Committee for ‘showing great personal courage, and maintaining Gandhi’s tradition’.
He has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain.’
In the 1980s, as chairman of the South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude, he fought against child slavery one factory at a time, one child at a time.
He conducted rescue raids and liberated children who were enduring extreme violence, some brutally beaten if they ever tried to escape.
In addition to exposing the ugly truth behind beautiful rugs, Satyarthi set out to establish a certification system that would incentivise manufacturers to stop exploiting children as well as guide consumer purchases.
Thus the RugMark label, later to become GoodWeave, was born and has become a recognised international non-profit organisation that aims to stop child labour in the rug industry.
Today GoodWeave works in the top consumer capitals of the world and in the key rug-producing areas across Asia, expanding most recently to Afghanistan.
In the two decades since its establishment, the organisation has succeeded in reducing the number of ‘rug kids’ in the region by two-thirds.
In the UK today there are 16 GoodWeave rug designers and importers signed up to child-labour-free rugs. www.GoodWeave.org.uk
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.