Hundreds of millions of children throughout the world are involved in work that deprives them of adequate education, health, and their fundamental human rights. Today marks the tenth annual World Day Against Child Labour, an occasion meant to highlight the lives of these children.
Currently the International Labour Organization, the organization that first launched this event in 2002, estimates that 215 million children worldwide are involved in child labour. While the majority work in agriculture, there are still many who are forced into its worst forms: prostitution, armed conflict and slavery. For obvious reasons, this has a devastating effect on a child’s future.
This year’s theme, Human Rights and Social Justice, is about more than just protecting children from child labour. It’s about helping the world’s youth fulfill their true potential. There are nearly 90 million girls between 5 and 17 years old involved in child labor across the globe today. That’s 90 million girls who are working instead of attending school.
Girls who are harvesting sugar cane instead of reading.
Girls who are breaking rocks instead of practicing their arithmetic.
Girls who are busy providing for their family instead of dreaming about their future.
The truth is that child labour is intrinsically tied to our work here at She’s the First and it’s an obstacle that cannot be overlooked in our fight for universal education. Research shows the more a child works, the less time she will spend in school–making her chances of graduating nearly impossible. Unfortunately this only perpetuates the problem, helping the cycle of poverty reach into future generations. As a global community, we must work together to find real solutions to this growing crisis. Solutions that keep our kids in the classroom, so they can go on to find honorable jobs that pay a fair wage.
Today is about the millions of boys and girls, each uniquely full of hope and promise, out there working right now. They deserve better. Join us as we stand for them today and everyday.