had the fantastic pleasure of joining the march on its 17th day in Gokhpur (Uttar
Pradesh), and continued on for the next 5 days through the Nepal. Still half asleep, I
stumbled off the overnight train from Delhi with a couple BBA employees and volunteers.

We weren’t really
sure where the march was because, in classic Indian style,
our train arrived late. It
didn’t take us long though to pile into an auto rickshaw (I’d say the

equivalent to a riding lawnmower with a roof, usually painted lots of bright
colors) and hit the streets in search of the massive and wonderfully organized
group (rare in India)
of school children and adults alike calling for EDUCATION
and an end to child labor and trafficking. I was shocked awake at the energy and
momentum the march carried. All the marchers were so happy to see new participants,
and within a matter of seconds had decked us o
ut with t-shirts, hats, signs, wrists bands and buttons .26thdaysansadmarg3

the march ended, we found seats on one of the three deluxe coach buses plas
tered with
Hindi billboards, blaring inside and out with the latest Bollywood tunes and
ren dancing the latest moves in the aisles of the buses.  I have to admit,
I think I got a r
eal glance into what life on the road as a rock star might
be like.  When everyone had gathered on the buses, we set off for our new destination.

Each day of the trip
transpired in a similar way.  All 200 of us, mostly children, would wake up, eat breakfast, hang
out for a while and stare at each other, and then head to the streets to organize and march into the latest city we were invading. After an average of
about 5km of marching and after we’d accumulated quite the crowd of locals, we’d
stop in the city center to hear speech
es from local activists, children who had been rescued from child
labor situations after being trafficked and Mr. Kailash Satyarthi (the
founder of Global March) and to enjoy
traditional dance presentations. Then
we’d eat yet again and all 200 of us would get back on the buses for more driving. At around 10pm, we’d reach a small town that
welcomed us, load off the bus, listen a few speeches and enjoy more dances and songs.  When we reached our final destination of the day, we would eat again,
get ready for bed and then wake up and do it all again the next day.

more impressive than the eerie ease at which all of this worked out nearly
flawlessly, was the energy the children maintained throughout the trip. I gues
this is to be expected though since the “core marchers” on the journey are all
children who have been rescued from working in places such as stone quarries or
carpet looms, usually bonded into these jobs at birth. Their cries for
freedom and education for all children in similar situations around the world
were filled with the utmost sincerity. I think their inspirational stories, emphasizing determination to continue on with joyful lives despite their horrible past, is
what makes a march like
theirs possible. I have to say, it was a demanding five days and if it had not been for those
kids' smiles, laughs, insatiable curiosity and downright fortitude, I don’t
think I could have made it through the physically trying tour. Then again, any time the thought to complain so much as
crossed my mind, I’d find another pint-size fellow marcher next to me and I knew
there was not a thing to complain about.  I was honored to hear their stories
and share in their success, if only for a couple of days.

For more information on the
Global March Against Child Labor or Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) and the march
please check out all the details at





WOW! I have to say Ms. Schonick, i am very impressed & honored to have a friend that is actually doing something about the things that sicken all of us. You have opened my eyes to see that this type of cruel behavior still exists...its hard to imagine it as i sit here at my computer, there is actually a child being worked to death at this very same moment as i sit here in the comfort of my home, drinking my tea & listening to the T.V.
Thank You for sharing this with us, it truly makes me realize the realness of it, especially when my "old H.S. buddy" is right there in the mix fighting to help these children.
Love you!