Kailash Satyarthi (born 11 January 1954) is an Indian children's rights activist and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. He founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (lit. Save the Childhood Movement) in 1980 and has acted to protect the rights of 80,000 children.
He was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, jointly with Malala Yousafzai, "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education".
Kailash Satyarthi was born on 11 January 1954 in the Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh. He studied electrical engineering at Samrat Ashok Technological Institute (SATI) in Vidisha and then pursued post-graduate studies in high-voltage engineering. He then taught as a lecturer at a college in Bhopal for a few years.
In 1980, he gave up his career as a teacher and became secretary general for the Bonded Labor Liberation Front; he also founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Mission) that year. He has also been involved with theGlobal March Against Child Labor and its international advocacy body, the International Center on Child Labor and Education (ICCLE), which are worldwide coalitions of NGOs, teachers and trades unionists. He has also served as the President of the Global Campaign for Education, from its inception in 1999 to 2011, having been one of its four founders alongside ActionAid, Oxfam and Education International.
In addition, he established Rugmark (now known as Goodweave) as the first voluntary labelling, monitoring and certification system of rugs manufactured without the use of child-labour in South Asia. This latter organisation operated a campaign in Europe and the United States in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the intent of raising consumer awareness of the issues relating to the accountability of global corporations with regard to socially responsible consumerism and trade.Satyarthi has highlighted child labor as a human rights issue as well as a welfare matter and charitable cause. He has argued that it perpetuates poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, population growth, and other social problems, and his claims have been supported by several studies. He has also had a role in linking the movement against child labour with efforts for achieving "Education for All". He has been a member of a UNESCO body established to examine this and has been on the board of the Fast Track Initiative (now known as the Global Partnership for Education). Satyarthi serves on the board and committee of several international organisations including the Center for Victims of Torture (USA), the International Labor Rights Fund (USA), and the International Cocoa Foundation. He is now reportedly working on bringing child labour and slavery into the post-2015 development agenda for the United Nation's Millenium Development Goals.
Satyarthi, along with Pakistani activist Malala Yousufzai, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education". Satyarthi is the seventh Nobel Prize winner for India and only the second Indian winner of the Nobel Peace Prize after Mother Teresa in 1979.
Satyarthi lives in New Delhi, India. His family includes his wife, a son, daughter-in-law, a daughter, colleagues, and friends. Apart from his social activities, he has been described as an excellent cook.
Awards and honours
Satyarthi has been the subject of a number of documentaries, television series, talk shows, advocacy and awareness films. Satyarthi has been awarded the following national and international honours:
- 2014: Nobel Peace Prize
- 2009: Defenders of Democracy Award (US)
- 2008: Alfonso Comin International Award (Spain)
- 2007: Gold medal of the Italian Senate (2007)
- 2007: recognized in the list of "Heroes Acting to End Modern Day Slavery" by the US State Department
- 2006: Freedom Award (US)
- 2002: Wallenberg Medal, awarded by the University of Michigan
- 1999: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Award (Germany)
- 1998: Golden Flag Award (Netherlands)
- 1995: Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award (US)
- 1995: The Trumpeter Award (US)
- 1994: The Aachener International Peace Award (Germany)
- 1993: Elected Ashoka Fellow (US)