Construction work holds many dangers for children and teens.

A Better Brick: Addressing Child Labor in Nepal’s Brick-Making Industry

bricks

 

 

By Deborah Andrews

Prior to the April 2015 earthquake, Nepal was in the midst of a construction boom that was struggling to keep up with the rapidly increasing population and urbanization trends. After the earthquake, the need to rebuild further increased the demand for bricks. For workers on Nepal’s kilns, the brick industry played a much needed role as a source of income for unskilled labor, although the industry has been characterized by exploitative employment practices.

The Global Fairness Initiative (GFI) with its partners – GoodWeave International, Brick Clean Group Nepal (BCN) and Humanity United (HU) – recognized the importance of the sector and saw an  opportunity to create incentives based partnerships to bring improvements to an informal, migrant, working population with little government representation or oversight. A project named Better Brick Nepal (BBN)’ is paving the way for nationwide change throughout the brick kiln industry.

 

Here are the top 10 facts you need to know:

  1. The number of kilns currently operating in Nepal is thought to be between 1,200 and 3,000 –with a large number of unregistered kilns. Many kilns exist on the periphery of communities where there is little government oversight, community organization or worker association representation which leaves the workers wide open to exploitative practices.
  1. Approximately 250,000 people are thought to work annually in kilns throughout Nepal, of that as many as 60,000 are children. Brick workers are largely an unskilled, migrant population. Most are migrating from within Nepal, but some are from northern India, resulting in many children living temporarily in a community which speaks a different language to their own and being part of a school system which is completely different and non-transferable – if the school is willing to take them in at all. A number of educational deficits take place.

Read more

Roadblocks to Child Labor Elimination in India

VASUDHA VENUGOPAL [from The Hindu 2.13.2012]

The HinduA child at a brick kiln in Tiruvallur. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

Every evening on the Marina, 10-year-old Karunakaran is among the several who urge visitors to buy a packet of pattani sundal. Around 5 p.m., he returns home from school, picks up the basket of 50 sundal packets and rushes to the beach eagerly looking for a ‘certain anna’ who lets him play snake game on his mobile phone. In Pudupet, another boy, Raj, struggles with bolts at an automotive spare-part manufacturing unit. ‘Fifteen’ he says in a seemingly trained way, the moment you ask him anything about his age. Originally from Rajasthan, he really hopes to get out of the unit, and be employed in a house, “like my cousin, a 14-year-old who works in a house in George Town here.”

Anything that interferes with the development of the child – that is the UN definition of Child Labour. And by this standard there are innumerable children in and around the city, employed in various professions, some grappling to come out, and some with no control over the situation.

The Labour Department has been regularly sending teams to industrial units to rescue child labourers but sources feel there is a concerted effort against such drives from employers who often manage to get parents on their side. The mobile education drive started by the department to identify children on the street and take them into fold of education is no longer functional either.

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Blogger Cites Child Labor at Commonwealth Games in India

In addition to charges or corruption and general mismanagement in the preparations for the Games, there were also reported incidents of child and forced labor being used in various construction projects for the events.
Columbia University Press – http://www.cupblog.org/Read the rest