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Hem Kunt has been migrating to Telangana every year for last 5 years to seek employment. Hem’s family lives in Saipala village of Nuapada block. They belong to the vulnerable Scheduled Caste category and have no land to their name. While Hem takes up jobs as a daily wage labourer, working on agricultural fields, her husband engages in fishing activities in the Patora dam area.

She, along with her husband, migrate to Karimnagar district of Telangana to work in the brick kilns from November to June every year. She takes her 3 children aged 12-14 years along with her. Last year, her children were admitted in the work site school so that they could continue their studies. The Panchayat Mitra, after learning the vulnerable status of the family, explained the benefits of registration under the Building and Other Construction Workers (BOCW) Act for migrant workers.

Those working in brick kilns would come under the purview of the BOCW Act which provides certain social welfare benefits such as insurance, monetary assistance, convergence with other government schemes etc. Consequently, Hem and her husband attended a registration camp conducted by the Gram Panchayat Resource Centre (GPRC) and signed up for the ‘labour card’. Two months later, both Hem and her husband received the registration card. The Mitra also counselled them about the facility of seasonal hostel and how that would help her children. The seasonal hostel facility has been initiated by the Government of Odisha to tackle the issue of child migration and child labour, and to retain the children with the education system.

This year, the Kunts will be migrating again, but now aware of their rights and entitlements and leaving their children in a safe place where their education can be continued.