A tireless global advocate for children’s rights for over forty years, Kailash Satyarthi left his lucrative career as an electrical engineer to start ‘Bachpan Bachao Andolan’. i.e., the Save the Children Movement. He aimed to rescue children and their families from slavery while helping them reintegrate into mainstream society. Under his leadership, the movement has rescued over 100,000 children thus far in India alone.
In 1988, Kailash Satyarthi conceived and led the largest civil society network aimed at the most exploited children. This was the Global March Against Child Labour. The initiative, which affected 103 countries, had one aim: an ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour. It became the only universally ratified convention in the history of ILO.
Kailash Satyarthi is also regarded as the architect of the Global Campaign for Education. The aim is to end the global education crisis. He is also credited for the first civil society/business coalition with the establishment of Rugmark, which later became known as Good Weave. This was the first of its kind certified social labeling mechanism for carpet manufacturing that guaranteed no child labour was employed.
In 2014, Kailash Satyarthi, together with Malala Yousafzai, received the Nobel Peace Prize for the struggle against the suppression of children and young people and the right of all children to education. Two years later he founded a novel initiative, Laureates and Leaders for Children, which brings together Nobel Laureates and global leaders in their field to build a sense of urgency, collective responsibility, and a strong moral voice to influence political will about children’s rights and safety. His efforts gained international recognition and resulted in a child protection and welfare-related clause in the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Kailash Satyarthi also launched the 100 Million for 100 Million Campaign later the same year. The aim was to mobilize 100 million youths to create a better future for 100 million children who had heretofore been denied rights and liberties.
Although he has taken on many roles during his time of service to children, such as serving on the board for various boards and committees focused on children’s rights, he went on to found the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation in 2004 where he plays a very active role. The foundation works towards building a world free of violence against children and works on many issues that affect vulnerable children and their families.
As a speaker, Kailash Satyarthi is seen as a pioneer in the fight against child exploitation and the battle against illiteracy. He has received many awards and honours besides the Nobel Peace Prize. Amongst these he counts the Medal of the Italian Senate received in 2017, the Defenders of Democracy Award in 2009, the Alfonso Comin International Award in 2008, and the Heroes Acting to End Modern Day Slavery by the US State Department in 2007.
He lives in India and presents in English. Besides appearing at conferences in person, Kailash Satyarthi also presents virtual keynotes and webinars.
"He clearly made an impact on the audience and everyone respects his work tremendously. He was a lovely man."