Deprived of an education, many work every day to help their family survive – they are trapped in a life of child labour.
Child labourers often begin working at a very young age, meaning they miss out on basic human rights such as education, rest and leisure. This is a tragic existence – one that no child deserves.
Child labour - we've still got a long way to go
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A worldwide issue: 215 million children
Even more shocking, 53 per cent of children engaged in child labour are exposed to serious hazards, including toxic chemicals, extreme temperatures, isolation, denigration, violence and repetitive tasks that put strain on their small bodies.
Help fight child labour – a prison that withers capabilities and potential.
Seven-year-old Saima is one child who has already lost years of her short life to child labour.
Living in one of Bangladesh's poorest slums, Saima’s daily existence involves picking through other people’s waste, recycling rags from the local rubbish dump that she can sell for a few cents.
Saima’s mother makes a meager living collecting plastic on the rubbish dump. Her father picks up odd jobs as a labourer, when he can. To help her family survive, Saima has to spend her days wading through a filthy rubbish tip to find rags which she can sell to local shopkeepers.
“I would always cut my hands and legs [while working],” Saima says. Every day Saima risks being cut by broken glass, poisoned by toxic chemicals or injured by the garbage trucks as they disgorge the city’s waste. Working children like Saima do not have a choice, they are forced into labour because their families need to earn money to survive.
Today, your gift can help children like Saima.
How you can help
Every child deserves a childhood. With your support, UNICEF can implement initiatives to protect children involved in child labour.
One key initiative is the operation of child-friendly centres that provide children:
- basic education
- life skills training
- trade training
- job placement
Trained social workers work with parents to help them find means of income other than child employment. They also liaise with employers to encourage the creation of safer work conditions for children, and encourage them to allow children to attend school.