Yes, why would Children like Malik and Ayisha (all below age 10) be out of school and into labor that makes them not benefit from any school activity, puts their health and proper development at risk? Poverty still remains the number one cause of many of the world’s problems esp. Child Labor. MDG 1 proves it- eradicate extreme poverty? But even so, hasn’t poverty being around for long? Must we always point fingers at poverty when deny many children the right to education?
Socio- cultural misconceptions have also played a major role in putting kids like Malik and Ayisha in the state they are-out of school and as ‘Child-Adults’ fending for themselves and their families too, exposed to all sorts of Immoral act. One may argue by saying “isn’t it money the children put in school want to make? Why don’t they start now?” to them I say “Shame! When did it become the Childs responsibility to cater for the family?” again, “Don’t you know your ward can make more money after completing school? Don’t you know children have every right to be educated- learn much as their capabilities allow and share their knowledge and experience with others?” Lack of education on the part of some parents and community leaders also give way for the cankers’ occurrence, how? Educated people- Educate people; hope it’s clear enough to win you to my side of the argument. Let me ask you this question: “Wouldn’t institutional weakness in application of Laws against cankers such as Child labor encourage the menace?” okay, “and how can an under resourced institution be in a better position to fight such a canker?” You and I are partly to blame for this, know why? We have done virtually nothing to contribute to the halting of this menace, how much noise have we made about it, to whom and where? Till it stops, we must not keep mute- even if there’s a child left in labor!
It is sad many of these children repeat the act by sometimes involving other children if not theirs in the near future in Child labor- vicious cycle. Again it sure retards our progress as a nation and the world at large because we may end up not achieving MDG 1 and 2 which talks of eradicate extreme poverty and achieving universal basic/primary education, respectively, all by 2015? We are all involved, MDG 8 clearly states that fact, and it will take partnership at all levels to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) esp. at the Rural, National and Global levels! And guess what? We nag ourselves about high unemployment rates, forgetting that the jobs able-bodied grown folks would do are currently is the hands of children- endangering their un-fit for job bodies.
Like it or love it, we must all realize that Child labor is illegal and contravenes the laws of every country in the world. It’s also an infringement on the rights of the child (Survival, Development, Protection and Participation). Children who aren’t properly equipped get injured. It has a negative impact on the child- morally and psychologically.
I would like to remind us all that they have been interventions: ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), ILO Convention 182, Worst Forms of Child Labor (WFCL), Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) and Children’s Act 560 and many other legislative instruments worldwide.
I believe we can do more. What? Sensitization to promote attitudinal and behavioral change also -lets walk the talk by enforcing our laws, let’s strengthen Social Welfare Departments with qualified and dedicated staff, resources and many more to help them function as an Institution. Indeed ignorance of the law is no excuse; nevertheless, the laws must be made known! We can better fight this canker if we work together by strengthening collaborations between agencies that work to protect children’s rights to combat the worst forms of child labor. Build schools in labor prone areas and encourage every child to be in school and parent to get their children in school. Commitment of all; You and I, Parents, Leaders and children will help make this world a child labor free place.