I visited a shop yesterday, there was a little boy who worked in that shop, he was hardly 12 years of age.
He caught me staring at him, he gave me a slow, hesitant smile.
I asked him to fix a lace on my dupata and he started his work obediently. Something tugged my heart strings and I asked him how old he was. He looked at me, bewildered. “Twelve”. I guessed it right he qualified as child labour as he is under 14. I asked “Why don’t you study?” He answered with a saddened look, “My father has died and we don’t have enough money so i discontinued my school, I have to earn to get food, I have to be at the shop so how come I will study”. He continued , “ I live with my mother and a sister at my mamu’s home.” With him telling more about his family, I was morally and emotionally torn.
I was thinking that at this age he is doing so much for this family when he should have been playing or enjoying with friends rather than trying to satisfy strangers at the shop.
One voice inside my head kept telling me to lodge a complaint against the shopkeeper that he is breaking law and that child labour is a criminal offence and give back this child his childhood and send him back to school.
But the other voice inside me kept telling me to let it go because this child’s income is what puts two meals on the table in his own house.
And here, I was torn between a child’s childhood and his livelihood.
With the two voices inside my head still waging a never-ending debate, I left the shop , with a heavy heart .
Yes, child labour is one of the most vital, socio-economic problem in our country, which damages, spoils, destroys and exploits the future of children. It often happens that a situation emerges when the children are forced to work when they are expected to study & enjoy the innocence of their adolescent age.
It causes hindrance towards the development of the country.
As per Child labor laws , children under 14 years old must not work in any factory, offices, restaurant or any other commercial institutions. These rules are part of human rights for children.
Child labor laws exist in many countries but there are not enough resources to enforce them and inspections are rarely carried out.
REASONS OF CHILD LABOUR
There are many reasons for child labor worldwide. The major causes are:-
Illiterate parents do not realise the need for a proper physical ,emotional and cognitive development and the importance of education for their children.
Due to limited resources and more mouths to feed , Children are employed in various forms of work.
Poverty forces parents to send their children to hazardous jobs because, they have no other alternative as they need the money.
Many a time companies in the developing world employ child workers.
5.UNEMPLOYMENT OF ELDERS :
Elders often find it difficult to get jobs. The industrialists and factory owners find it profitable to employ children.
Children born out of wedlock, children with no parents and relatives, often do not find anyone to support them. Thus they are forced to work for their own living .
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE TO REDUCE CHILD LABOUR
Firstly talk to the kid personally. Try to find out whether he is being forced to work or he is trying to support his family.The action you should take is to be blunt and say No!!Don’t accept any kind of service from a child.
If possible, tell any NGO about it, who works for this cause.Finally, help a child directly or donate any amount to some NGO; it would definitely help them to take care of more such children.
In a perfect world, child labor would be outlawed everywhere, and every child would be given the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and excel.Child labor should be eliminated because children need to be children!
They need time to play, explore, wonder and discover their environment. They need to nurture their social skills with family and community members.