“The World is presently not a total disaster because few good people refuse to keep silent.”…. Lotenna Olisa
That is a quote by me and it was inspired by the work of the joint winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi who have both struggling to promote the rights of children around the globe.
In most countries, particularly African, Asian and Carribean countries, young children are subjected to various forms of child labour and in most cases, this robs them of getting an education. Child labour I’m talking about here includes street hawking, apprenticeship, prostitution and even fighting as soldiers. These young children are usually forced or have no choice. They are either trying to complement what their very poor parents earn or are simply being used. That is why it is very necessary for us to take it upon ourselves to speak for them, to fight for them, just like the Nobel Peace Prize winners for this year are doing.
There are about 168 million children around the world subjected to various form of child labour, some of them constituting child abuse. Most are involved in work so hazardous – such as in mines, as child soldiers, or involving dangerous chemicals or drugs that directly endangers their health, safety, and development The rest are toiling in places such as farms, other families’ homes, or factories. The most painful of all, to me, is the innocent children subject to the mental torture and traumatic experiences that serving as child soldiers bring. Imaging little children, some under the age of twelve, forced to carry guns, take up weapons and engage in deadly combat which most of them don’t survive. The one that do are most likely scarred for life. Is this not the height of inhumanity?!
Another disheartening statistics: 121 million children around the world are out of school. Some factors that contribute to this are child labour, discriminatory policies against the female child, early marriage which is the culture of some groups, especially in Africa, attacks on schools by militant groups, as seen in Nigeria, Syria, Pakistan and the Philippines, sexual harrasment in schools, amongst others. The very sad reality is that these children are deprived of education and this limits their opportunities and they end up not contributing effectively to the society as they should if they have been educated. Most of them end up poor.
Child labor may look like a short-term solution to economic hardship, but it’s actually a cause of poverty. People who start work as children end up with less education and lower earnings as adults. They are then more likely to send their own children to work, perpetuating the cycle of poverty from generation to generation.
An internationally agreed-upon timetable to end the worst forms of child labor by 2016 is lagging. We should make it a priority. No child deserves to suffer or be deprived of a good future. Governments must take the fight against child labour and other forms of child abuse very seriously. Children are supposed to be the hope of any nation but imagine a situation where the children themselves are hopeless.
God bless activists and campaigners around the world who have refused to keep silent and are fighting tirelessly to end child labour and child abuse around the world. We all have a part to play. If we all speak out, we have a greater chance of being heard. #EndChildLabourToday