Waterproof, reliable controls
All customers place great value on child labor free extraction and production of natural stones ranging over the entire value chain. Therefore, they voluntarily accept the strict and regular monitoring of their producers and exporters. The corresponding controls relate to child labor and working conditions.
- the quarries
- the processing plants
- transportation from the quarry to the processing plant
- the packaging and shipping
Currently no other organization can offer such a comprehensive and seamless system. Additionally minimum wages, hours of work and occupational safety are monitored.
The inspectors follow official internationally recognized standards such as ISO 9000 and also voluntary standards for social responsibility and environmental sustainability.
The tests themselves, as stated in the partnership agreement with the Indian manufacturers and exporters, can take place without any prior notice after the first official contact with the owners and the management. Indian natural stones with the IGEP Seal are therefore tested and found to be fine.
The participating companies, however, are not satisfied that exploitation and child labor cannot occur alone in the monitored companies. All importers agree that much more needs to be done for the poor and particularly for children in a poor country. Therefore, "The Association of German natural stone fabricators eV (VDNV)” is involved in a number of projects together with internationally experienced partners.
Health Care and Education with the Rugmark Organization
India's economy is, despite the global financial crisis, still very progressing. But the country with more than 1200 million people still has a long way to go. Around 300 million people live under most difficult conditions and have to survive a day with less than one euro. Especially prevalent is this startling poverty in rural areas. In many villages there is neither a doctor nor an infirmary. Diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, dengue fever, polio, measles, diphtheria and many others can therefore be so as simple colds often not diagnosed and tackled effectively. Dog and snake bites can be deadly. Those who are poor suffer the most!
Rugmark, IGEP’s partner fighting against child labor for twenty years, currently maintains seven schools for the children of the poor villagers. They are located in the region Varanasi - Mirzapur – Bhadohi, one of the poorest areas in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. This allows more than 2000 children in need access to profit of a good education, provides school uniforms and teaching materials. The project creates opportunities for a better future.
To ensure the medical care of school children, the community of interest has concluded a cooperation agreement with Rugmark. IGN bears the costs of medical care and for the operation and maintenance of an ambulance vehicle. All schools will be under a physicians care according to fixed a plan. Thus, investigations and any necessary treatments are carried out regularly. In addition, teachers and children are trained in measures of hygiene, so that many diseases can be prevented.
Investigations for the entire population in many villages on certain days and provision of necessary medications are planned in the coming years. This is also strongly supported by our customers. For them health care is an important precondition for the sustainable improvement of the living conditions.
In 1996 Rugmark has build the children's home "Balashrya", bringing former child laborers back to a normal life. They are offered a home, well supported and get an education. This way they can read, play and exercise for the first time in their lives. In addition, they will be offered courses of vocational training.
Since the children's home is also available to children of poor rural workers as a school the rented building proved to be too small. Therefore it is planned to build a new larger school on a recently acquired land in the Ganges Plain. It is currently scheduled to have eight classrooms, two of them funded by VDNV (Former IGN). In addition it will have
- a school library
- a possibility of systematic computer classes
It will include the implementation of teaching English, as this is the common language of administration in all regions. As sufficient language proficiency is an important precondition for access to much further education and vocational training, our companies are creating an important possibility to many poorest of the poor.
Cooperation with IGEP initiatives
Diseases often cause for unimaginably hard consequences for poor families. For example, a family man infected with tuberculosis cannot be the breadwinner anymore. The fear of infection further hinders that the mother can work and the kids go to school. And tuberculosis is only one of many infectious diseases. Therefore, many families sink into misery and lose connection to a normal life. In the vicious circle of poverty, the only direction is downward.
In order to reopen opportunities to these people, IGEP founded the Little Keb-School in New Delhi, which is now also represented in a particularly disadvantaged region in the state of Jharkhand. Here private donors cooperated to make poor people’s world livable again. Seven teachers and supporting staff care for approximately 200 children, who have no access to schools or kindergartens otherwise. They care not only about education, but also about issues of hygiene and health. Sick parents will be fully taken care of as well.
In Delhi and Jharkhand a doctor works in order to care for children and their families. Treating diseases early can and prevent infections. The cost will be fully borne by the companies.
All experiences in the fight against poverty show that an education for the children of the affected populations is of central importance, and thus is absolutely necessary. But to be successful, it must be supplemented for certain professions through further education. This is often overlooked.
IGEP therefore concentrates its commitment in South India, where the school situation is relatively better than in the north. In order to provide assistance quickly, sustainably and effectively, it makes use of the extensive experience and contacts of CARITAS in India. In the region of Krishnagiri, the center of South Indian quarry region, it is now possible to offer vocational training of vulnerable adolescent. All training plans were developed in collaboration with Rev. Dr. Babu Joseph of Caritas India. The primary focus is set on trainings facing high demand and offering favorable future prospects. Starting back in 2011 the training program ranges from training of plumbers over electricians to mechanics for the installation and repair of electrical devices and mobile phones. Courses for other professions are in process. The company in this case bears the costs for teachers, teaching materials, the accommodation and care of the trainees.
School for the Blind
Blind children are particularly disadvantaged in India. Unlike in Europe, there are few opportunities of education and integration into society for them. In order to offer them a dignified life, collaboration with the "Karnataka Welfare Association for the Blind" in Bangalore has been agreed. This way it is possible that blind children learn a job that allows for a secure and independent existence later in their lives. The program first starts with computer training. We ensure that the graduates find employment in private or public companies after their education. At this point the intense connections with CARITAS are very helpful again.
* The projects have been started with the VDNV and their members. In the meanwhile, other importers and Indian manufacturers participate