Iqbal Masih was a Pakistani boy, living life in a nightmare. At the age of four, his father sold him to a carpet store for twelve dollars. He was a slave, and worked on looms until the age of ten. He escaped, and was eventually saved by Ehsan Ulla Khan, founder of the Bondage Labor Liberation Front.
Iqbal suffered while working on the loom, and he refused to go back. He was both verbally and physically abused, and not well fed. Every night, he was chained to his carpet loom, on which he worked for over twelve hours a day. Because he had to bend over for so many hours, his back became curved, causing him to stop growing. His lungs were affected as well. Because he inhaled a lot of dust from the factory, he had a hard time breathing. After Iqbal was rescued, he became a member of the Bondage Labor Liberation Front, ot BLLF. His speeches raised a lot of interest within Pakistan as to the labor conditions. Iqbal's began speaking internationally, making him a hero at the age of twelve! He was awarded the Reebok Human Rights Youth Award.
Most people think that children are not mature enough to make a difference, but clearly, Iqbal's actions prove that kids do matter.
Then, on April 16, 1995, Easter Sunday, Iqbal was murdered. News went flying around about the death of Iqbal Masih. The only thing that we can guess is that the Carpet Mafia murdered him, because Iqbals' protests had decreased the profits of the carpet mills. They wanted his impact to end, so they shot him with a rifle. He was just a normal twelve-year-old boy with a dream to help others.
Iqbal's speeches still live on today. Our world is still cruel and filled with hatred, but, because of people like Iqbal, we show that we can change it. Iqbal was truly an amazing person. He is definitely a great hero.
- For teen workers and students
- Read another MY HERO story about Iqbal.
- A bio of Iqbal Masih
View a SHORT FILM about Iqbal
- The film 'Courage' shows how Iqbal decided to fight to end the plight of his fellow children. Iqbal's courage inspired others around the world
Kuklin, Susan . Iqbal Masih Crusaders Against Child Slavery. Canada1988.