Diana Award winner, Neeraj Murmu was once a child laborer in the mica mines of Jharkhand’s Duliyakaram. Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation aided his rescue in 2011 and that is when he got to attend school for the first time in his life. He went ahead to rescue many other children like him.
Critical financial conditions of the family forced Diana award winner Neeraj Murmu into child labour at the age of five. The family of nine managed to have only one cooked meal in a day and was struggling to make ends meet. So, Murmu had to take up the work of mica mining as a child labourer instead of going to school. In a brief conversation with us, Murmu spoke about his experience as a child miner. He told us how on some days, even after an entire day of working hard he would not earn any money. Moreover, the working conditions at the mine were life-threatening.
It was Neeraj’s hard work and determination that nine years after his rescue, Neeraj received the prestigious Diana Award celebrated each year in the fond memory of Princess Diana of Wales. It was his extraordinary efforts to make his village child friendly (Bal Mitra Gram) that brought him this recognition.
Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi congratulated him with a tweet.
What a proud moment for me, my organisation & India! My son Neeraj Murmu won prestigious #2020DianaAward for his exemplary work in spreading education. He was a child labourer in dangerous mica mines till 2011. @DianaAward pic.twitter.com/movxTNu7H3
— Kailash Satyarthi (@k_satyarthi) July 2, 2020
Imparting education in the times of COVID
In response to the ongoing COVID crisis, Neeraj is following the rules of social distancing while holding classes in his school post the Unlock. However, during the lockdown, he had dismissed the school entirely because of a lack of internet and resources in the village.