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How sponsorship saved Chittiraikani from child labour

CCFC’s mandate to ensure children stay in school leads to lasting change in India

 By Brianne Binelli, online content manager, Canada (with files from Lipi Jobson, communications manager, India)

There are many roadblocks to finding a good job. Just ask Chittiraikani Vazhivittan. Child labour was common when he was growing up in the village of Orampatti in India 20 years ago.

“Education was not preferred by the children in those days … due to the job opportunities available at firework factories,” confides the 31-year-old, explaining how his peers didn’t realize the lifelong impact of choosing to become unskilled labourers.

Luckily, Chittiraikani had a different fate. At the age of 11, he became sponsored through Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC), supported through our local partner, SPEECH.

“Those days were unforgettable,” recalls Chittiraikani. “I participated in almost every program — programs like skills-training, educational camps, enrolment campaigns, medical camps.” He knew that if he dropped out of school he would lose access to the activities he enjoyed.

Staying in school was a message that remained with the sponsored child throughout his youth.

Today, as a temporary private-school botany teacher with a masters of science degree and a bachelor of education, Chittiraikani is pushing toward the next goal in his life’s journey.

Recently the constant learner took tests to make him eligible to work full time in a government-operated school. Landing such a job will improve his status in society and boost his income so he can provide for a family.

It’s little surprise Chittiraikani promotes the power of education to sponsored children coming up behind him. “Go to the maximum level in studies,” he advises. That’s the way to break the cycle of poverty and “settle in life.”

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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) is a child-centred international development organization and a member of ChildFund Alliance. For more than 55 years, CCFC has worked with children, communities, donors and other partners — changing lives through improved health, education and clean water. CCFC works in 12 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas, to support more than 700,000 children, youth and community members.