Kailash Satyarthi profile: Children's rights activist who is keeping tradition of Gandhi tradition alive

The Indian children’s rights activist has been at the forefront of efforts to tackle child labour for three decades with his organisation, Bachpan Bachao Andolan

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The Independent Online

Kailash Satyarthi is a distinguished children’s rights activist in India and has won this year’s Nobel peace prize jointly with education campaigner Malala Yousafzai.

Satyarthi was born 11 January 1954 in India and lives in New Delhi with his wife and children. He gave up a career as electrical engineer in 1980 and became the secretary general of an organisation called Bachpan Bachao Andolan or "Save the Childhood Movement." This morning their website had crashed after it was announced that its founder had won the Nobel peace prize.

Over time Bachpan Bachao Andolan has led the rescue of almost 80,000 enslaved children who then receive education and rehabilitation, The Hindu has reported. The group also lobbies and raises awareness of the issue. Satyarthi has also led the largest ever civil society network for exploited children – the Global March Against Child Labor, which is a coalition of NGOs, teachers unions and trade unions. He also spearheads the South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude and he is a member of the High Level Education Panel, a group that lobbies internationally for education.


Satyarthi has also campaigned against child trafficking and prostitution. He has won several previous awards for his work including Defender of Democracy Award from the US in 2009, and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in 1995.

Mr Satyarthi was described by the committee as a campaigner who had shown "great personal courage" in "maintaining Gandhi's tradition". They added that he has "contributed to the development of important international conventions on children’s rights".