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The Story of Iqbal Masih
Iqbal lived with his mother and father in a tiny village, far away in Pakistan.
His parents were very poor. One day Iqbal's mother became deathly sick.
"Iqbal, your mother will die unless we find some money for medicine", sobbed his father.
"The owner of the carpet factory will lend us some money if you go and work for him -
you are our only hope".
Iqbal felt very frightened when the carpet factory owner arrived.
The factory was a long, long way and the man was a stranger.
Would he be kind? Would it be fun in the factory? How long would he be away?
When would he see his mother and father again? Would his mother die?
Iqbal's mind was flooded with fearful questions.....
Poor little Iqbal wove carpets twelve hours a day for the next six years!
It was a horrible life. Each day the children in the factory were chained to their
rug looms, breathing in dusty lint from the wool which hurt their lungs.
Their backs grew bent from crouching for long hours over their looms.
The factory owner was very cruel. Iqbal had very little to eat and was always hungry.
He often hurt himself with the sharp knife he used to cut the wool.
The factory owner beat him with a stick if he made a mistake or was too slow.
Sometimes he was slammed down a hole in the ground, in the dark, with no food
for a week. He never went to school. He had no rights at all.
He paid the children nothing. When a rich man came to buy a rug, the greedy
factory owner kept all the money for himself.
Then, one day Iqbal escaped. His dream was to set the children free.
He told everyone about the cruel factory owner.
"We are not safe, we are sick and hungry, cut and bruised. We are trapped in the
factory, we do not know if our parents are alive or dead, we never go to school so we
will always be poor!" shouted Iqbal from his platform in the village square.
Soon the whole world knew about the problem...
Because of Iqbal many factory owners were caught by the police and their factories
shut down. The children were set free!
Now comes a terrible thing! When Iqbal was only 12 years old he was mysteriously
shot dead. People say he was killed by angry factory owners.
But a bullet can't kill a dream! Iqbal's dream was to free children from working in factories
and to build schools for them. He fought for all children to have their human rights.
To this day, using children to work in factories is against the law in every country in the
Thankyou Iqbal. You are a hero.
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