Like any other child of his age, Manan Ansari wanted to go to school, do well in academics and play with his friends. But life had planned otherwise.
Owing to the dire financial crisis, his parents pulled him out of school when he was in 5th standard and sent him to work in mica mines in Jharkhand’s mica mines in Koderma district. There were 10 hungry mouths to feed each day at home and working as a child labour to add to his family’s kitty became the pressing need of the hour. The world of his dreams had collapsed as it were.
Instead of going to school, every morning Manan walked to the mines to work tirelessly for nine long hours a day collecting mica scrap.
Fortunately, the tables turned. In 2007, he was rescued from the daily drudgery and taken to Bal Ashram, a long term rehabilitation home established by Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi.. He developed an interest in music and began his training as a classical singer.
Manan also continued his education and was provided support under KSCF’s ‘Freedom Fellows Education Fund’ following which he completed B.Sc. (Honours) with First Class from Acharya Narendra Dev College under Delhi University and subsequently MSc from KIIT. He plans to pursue his PhD and work as a research scholar to improve the socio-economic condition of children worldwide.
Manan today is a role model for his peers and young children around the world. He has shared his story on various national and international platforms, making people aware about the ill effects of child labour. He also got the opportunity to speak at a TEDX event in KS Hegde Medical Academy, Mangalore in 2018 and was also invited to be a moderator for the child rights champions panel for youth in UN South Asia Forum on Business and Human Rights, 2019, held in New Delhi, India.
In November 2019, he participated in the United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights held in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was invited to be a panelist. He shared his story of fighting exploitation and demanded that every corporate and government should ensure that there is no child labour in their supply chains.