Exposure Brick

Our national partners and representatives recently conducted a visit to brick kilns in Poduvoyal, located near TJS Engineering College. The purpose of the visit was to gain insights into the lives of migrant workers employed in these brick kilns. During our visit, Mr. Deepak introduced himself and provided us with an overview of the work we do for the welfare of brick kiln workers. While most people are aware of brick kilns, it is important to understand how government agencies and organizations like ours collaborate to protect the rights and well-being of migrant workers employed in Tamil Nadu’s brick kilns, both within and outside the state. We had detailed discussions with them about their challenges and difficulties faced while living in these environments. One aspect that was highlighted during our discussions was education for children. Initially, it was extremely challenging for us to access both the workers’ chambers and communicate with them or their children. However, through building rapport with the children first, we were able to enter their chambers gradually where we started conducting educational sessions as well. We took careful steps towards gathering basic information from workers regarding issues related specifically to their children. Furthermore, there has been a significant development on this front as well – a recent directive from Tamil Nadu government has mandated that all children should attend schools closest to their place of residence for proper education instruction purposes

    We gradually employed Odia teachers to educate the children in their native language, and we provided training for instructors on how to teach students based on the curriculum every other Saturday. The transportation of children was taken care of by the owner, while meals, school uniforms, and other necessary items were supplied by both Tamil Nadu government and DBMS. Teacher salaries were also funded by Tamil Nadu government. DBMS organized various awareness camps for brick kiln workers which covered topics such as safety regulations and laws as well as registration procedures and education opportunities. DBMS actively addressed challenges and issues faced by workers in brick kilns including cases involving deaths at these sites or rescuing individuals trapped in bonded labor situations. They also focused on providing medical care for workers and creating initiatives focused on child welfare such as monitoring child labor practices. The working conditions endured by these workers were brought into focus; they often worked long hours exceeding 16-18 hours per day with minimal breaks or only six hours of sleep per night. Access to electricity was limited during daytime hours with availability mainly restricted to nighttime work purposes only. Living quarters consisted of small rooms making it difficult for families consisting of five or six people to comfortably reside together without proper toilet or bathing facilities resulting in additional hardships particularly affecting women.

    Working in brick kilns poses health hazards for workers due to long-term exposure to dangerous gases, high temperatures, and dust. The inhalation of silica dust and other airborne particles during the brick molding, drying, and firing processes puts employees at risk of developing respiratory conditions. Chronic health issues like silicosis, bronchitis, and asthma have been documented among brick kiln workers. Furthermore, Fr. Bosco and Fr. Simolin discussed migrations related to brick kilns during the delegates’ visit. They also had the opportunity to tour chambers, meet with owners of the kilns as well as laborers in order to gain a better understanding of their work experiences. This allowed for an introduction between the owners/workers and delegates so that they could learn more about each other’s perspectives on the job.

    Following that, we visited Don Bosco AnbuillamKaverapettai, where we had the opportunity to meet with the rector and the migrant office. Father Rector of AnbuIllam extended a warm welcome to our group and engaged in a discussion regarding the various services provided by AnbuIllam. During this discussion, Father emphasized on the intricacies of their work, including how they implement initiatives for fathers, provide care for underprivileged and disadvantaged boys, and ensure their education. To conclude our visit, Father Rector graciously offered us lunch which we all enjoyed. We expressed our gratitude to him for such an insightful session and delightful meal. The excursion to both the brick kiln tour and AnbuIllam Kaverapettai proved to be truly enlightening experiences for almost every delegate in attendance.

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    Ferk Simolin

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    Mail: ferksimolin@gmail.com Mobile: 9445738879


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