On 12 June, the World Day Against Child Labour, Education International (EI) is calling attention to this massive violation of the rights of hundreds of millions children around the globe.
Every day more than 200 million children around the world spend time working at difficult and often dangerous tasks so that they and their family members can survive.
The most extreme forms of child labour involve children being enslaved, taken from their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses, sexually exploited or left to fend for themselves on the streets of the world’s largest cities.
EI is working within the Global Task Force on Child Labour and Education For All, which brings together UN agencies, the World Bank and the Global March Against Child Labour, in a unique coalition rooted in shared commitment to prevent and eliminate child labour.
EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen noted that when children are forced to work and thus denied their right to an education, they are often doomed to unemployment and poverty in adulthood because they lack the skills needed for jobs that could support the next generation.
"Teachers’ unions around the world are determined to do our bit to stop the theft of childhood from so many youngsters," said van Leeuwen. "We are working with our member organizations to help develop programmes to keep children in school, because we know that free, quality education is the best preventive strategy."
Kailash Satyarthi, president of the Global March Against Child Labour, agreed: "Education is vital to all rights. It is vital to health, to reducing HIV and AIDS. It is vital to escaping poverty and contributing to the benefit of the society. We can’t achieve any of the Millennium Development Goals without education."
World Day Against Child Labour, 12 June, is a crucial day in the calendar for child labourers, teachers and their unions, and the international community. This year’s theme is dedicated to eliminating child labour in fields and farms.
Harvest for the future: Agriculture without child labour is the title of a new publication brought out by EI and the ILO, through the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC). It provides current facts and ideas teachers can use to support the growing movement to tackle child labour. The booklet contains exercises in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Teachers and other concerned citizens will find this a useful tool to increase knowledge about child labour, provide practical exercises for classroom use or facilitate discussion within unions or civil society groups.
Harvest for the future is available at: target="_blank">www.ei-ie.org/childlabour.
For more information, please contact Donatella Montaldo at Education International, +32 (0) 2 224 06 76.