“Child labour is work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development” (Guy Ryder, ILO President)
The World Day Against Child Labour, which is held every year on June 12, is intended to foster the worldwide movement against child labour in any of its forms. It was first launched in 2002 by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to raise awareness and to spread activism for preventing child labour.
Globally over 1.5 billion people live in countries that are affected by conflict, violence and fragility. A significant proportion of the 168 million children engaged in child labour live in areas affected by conflict and disaster. The 2017 World Day Against Child Labour focuses on the impact of conflicts and natural disasters on child labour.
Conflicts and natural disasters have a devastating impact on people’s lives. They kill, force people to flee their homes, push people into poverty and trap people in situations where their basic human rights are violated. Children are often the first to suffer as schools are destroyed and the basic service provision system is interrupted. Many children are internally displaced or become refugees in other countries, and are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and child labour. Ultimately, millions of children are pushed into child labour by conflicts and disasters. For this reason, urgent action is needed to tackle child labour in areas affected by conflict and disaster. If the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 8.7 which aims to “eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour” is to be achieved by 2030, the international community need to intensify any action to end child labour, including in areas affected by conflict and disasters.
Now let’s make a little focus on the phenomenon of Child Labour in the Philippines which is the country were Kito Onlus intervenes.
According to a 2015 ILO survey, in the Philippines, there are 2.1 million child labourers aged 5-17 years old based on the 2015 Survey on Children of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) . “About 95 per cent of them are in hazardous work. Sixty-nine per cent of these are aged 15-17 years old, beyond the minimum allowable age for work but still exposed to hazardous work.”
Usually, children work in farms and plantations, in dangerous mines, on street, factories and in private homes as child domestic workers. Agriculture remains to be the sector where most child labourers can be found at 58 per cent.
How is Kito Onlus contributing to the ILO project of stopping Child Labour in the Philippines? As mentioned above, schools are the crucial environment for children to develop their mental and physical abilities. That’s why our no-profit organisation is currently committed to the rebuilding of Banilad Elementary School in Pinamalayan (Mindoro Island) which will allow 275 children to attend classes in a safe and comfortable environment instead of temporary tents. Indeed, these temporary tents could be a deterrent for poor families of the area that could decide to send them to work and not to get them an education since there is not a proper and safe building.