Tag Archive for: poverty


Mother’s Day Special from a 13-Year-Old Girl: Why 13-Year-Olds Shouldn’t Be Married


Written by 13-year-old Kiran Kochar McCabe, this piece was originally published in the Huffington Post on May 11, 2015.

Did you know that by the time you finish reading this article, about 52 girls under the age of 18 will have just been married?

Consider these facts. One-third of girls in the developing world are married before they turn 18. In Niger, a country in West Africa, more than half of girls under 18 are married. If I lived there, I would likely be married with children celebrating me on Mother’s Day, rather than me thinking about what gift to give my mom.

I started learning about the difficulties girls face around the world at a young age when I became involved with the global poverty-fighting organization CARE. Since the age of 7, I’ve attended CARE’s advocacy conference each year in our nation’s capital, along with hundreds of other passionate volunteers. During the conference, I visit my members of Congress to tell them why investing in a girl’s education and empowerment is important. I know that compared to many others girls my age, I am very fortunate. I want to use my voice to help improve the lives of others around the world.
Through my work with CARE, I know that girls and societies will not grow and prosper if girls are married early. Girls need to get an education so they can lead empowered lives. Studies show that girls with at least eight years of education are four times less likely to be married as children. A girl with an extra year of education can also earn 20 percent more as an adult.

U.S. foreign aid has an incredibly positive impact on girl’s empowerment and education around the world, and this delivers lasting change within a community. Studies show that the majority of girls who are married early come from poor families. In many countries, foreign aid helps provide those families with tools, knowledge and services to help their daughters go to school.

Many people who oppose U.S. foreign aid believe that it takes away from resources to solve our domestic issues.Most people believe that the U.S. foreign aid budget is 25 percent of our government’s budget when in reality it is less than 1 percent. Cutting a budget this small won’t fix our other problems. More importantly, the U.S. foreign aid budget creates a huge impact on the lives of people around the world. Programs funded by this budget help girls, women and many other disadvantaged groups get an education, become economically independent, move up in their communities, and break the cycle of child marriage.

We need to protect our foreign aid budget so we can continue to prevent child marriage. We shouldn’t have 13-year-old brides and mothers in this world. As a 13-year-old girl, I am not ready to be married and have children. So this Mother’s Day, while you are celebrating with your mother, think about all the child marriages and teenage mothers around the world. Join me and tell your members of Congress to keep funding the foreign aid budget so that Mother’s Day is not a celebration for 13-year-old mothers.

Kiran Kochar McCabe was in the 8th grade at Takoma Park Middle School when she wrote this. She is currently a college student in Washignton, D.C.


Conflict and Economic Downturn Cause Global Increase in Reported Child Labor Violations- 40% of Countries now rated ‘extreme risk’ by Maplecroft

Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Philippines expose companies to high levels of supply chain risk

An annual study by risk analysis firm Maplecroft has revealed that 76 countries now pose ‘extreme’ child labour complicity risks for companies operating worldwide, due to worsening global security and the economic downturn. This constitutes an increase of more than 10% from last year’s total of 68 ‘extreme risk’ countries.

The Child Labour Index 2012 evaluates the frequency and severity of reported child labour incidents in 197 countries. Worryingly, nearly 40% of all countries have been classified as ‘extreme risk’ in the index, with conflict torn and authoritarian states topping the ranking. Myanmar, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan are ranked joint first, while DR Congo (5), Zimbabwe (6), Afghanistan (7), Burundi (8), Pakistan (9) and Ethiopia (10) round off the worst performers.

The Child Labour Index has been developed by Maplecroft to evaluate the extent of country-level child labour practices and the performance of governments in preventing child labour and ensuring the accountability of perpetrators. By doing so, the index enables companies to identify risks of children being employed within their supply chains in violation of the standards on minimum age of employment. The index also analyses the risk of the involvement of children in work, the conditions of which could have a negative impact on the health, safety and wellbeing of child labourers.

Maplecroft suggests that the global increase in the use of child labour is mainly caused by a deteriorating human security situation worldwide. This has resulted in increased numbers of internally displaced children and refugees who, together with children from minority communities, continue to be the groups at most risk of economic exploitation. Sub-Saharan Africa is identified as the region posing the most risk in this respect but most of the growth economies have their own unique conditions in respect of child labour and its remediation. Read more


More than 1 million Children ages 10 to 14 still Forced by Poverty to work in Brazil

By Associated Press

SAO PAULO — A newspaper says that despite the economic advances achieved by Brazil over the past few years, children from low-income families are still forced to work in Latin America’s biggest country.

The Folha de S.Paulo newspaper says Wednesday that its analysis of preliminary 2010 census figures compiled by Brazil’s government statistics agency shows that more than 1 million children between the ages of 10 and 14 were working last year.

0The newspaper says that many cases of child labor are difficult to eradicate because most of them involve work as domestic help or on small family farms in remote regions.

The statistics agency known as IBGE said it could not immediately confirm the newspaper’s report.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Social: Poverty in Shirak Province Hampers Struggle Against Illegal Child Labor

ArmeniaNow  —  Poor social and economic conditions in Shirak – Armenia’s most impoverished region – hamper the struggle against child labor. Government officials, representatives of local authorities and regional administrations say efforts against the human rights reality are not effective since the conditions prompting child labor still remain.

Karine Grigoryan, deputy director of Child Day Care Center in Gyumri, says poverty is the major driving force that prompts children to work.

“Hardship forces children to go out to work, and consequently, in case children don’t get a chance to receive education, then tomorrow they will live in poverty anyway,” she said.

According to National Statistics Service figures, Shirak region had the highest unemployment rates last year.

“There is a family that lives on 18,000 drams ($50) a month. They spend this sum in one week and go hungry the rest of the time. We give allowances for children for their transportation costs, but they buy bread with the money. Then they wait until the end of the month and receive money again. A child from this family used to be a beggar before,” Grigoryan said.

Labour market analysis conducted in Armenia last year, shows adolescents aged 15-19 years composed 1.2 per cent of the workforce. In reality, teen employment rates are often hidden.

Hasmik Sargsyan, head of Little Prince Day Care Social Center, says very often while hiring minors they don’t register them legally.

“Since children themselves don’t have sufficient skills and knowledge, they merely become manual workers and mainly wash cars, work as porters in market, or get 1,000 drams ($2.5) a day for opening and closing of mini bus doors and even get involved in agricultural works. Many of them earned a living to help support their families this way,” she said.

The use of child labor is not uncommon in Central Asia. According to a report published by the Open Society Foundations (www.soros.org) in post-Soviet Uzbekistan, despite the end of collective farming and the renewal of private farms, 1.5 to 2 million schoolchildren are sent by central and local governments for 2–3 months every autumn to the fields to pick cotton under hazardous condition. This results in severe injuries to children and deprives them of their right to education. (Read more here: https://www.soros.org/initiatives/cep/events/child-labor-20110120)

Daniel Shahinyan is known all over the Gyumri market. Every day, the teenager with unusually rough hands carries а heavy wheel barrow piled high with various household goods to the market stores.

While talking, Daniel looks away in embarrassment and says he’s 19, but his naive childish eyes give away the truth; he’s younger, perhaps about 15 years old.

“Well, they give me whatever they want, some of them pay 1000 drams, ($2.50) others – 500, ($1.50) but there are people, who don’t give anything. They say they don’t want to pay me and that’s it… What can I say?” says Daniel, shrugging his shoulders while speaking about his work and money he earns.

Daniel has graduated from the Third Specialized (secondary) School in Gyumri and lives with his mother and 14-year-old brother. He says he would never let his younger brother Aram do the same job as he does.

“I do this job and support them. I’m already used to this tough work, so I carry this wheel barrow and suffer. That’s why I won’t let him do the same, because I know what this job is from my own bitter experience,” he said.

Tereza Grigoryan, a senior specialist on social security affairs at Gyumri city hall, says high rates of child labor on illegal and tough conditions are caused by economic hardship which was prompted by the earthquake in 1988 and little has been done to improve the situation since then.
“The pain hasn’t been cured yet. It’s not by chance that we face such problems in our social field, and what’s more, it’s not by accident that Shirak region has the highest child labor rates [in Armenia],” she said.

The state and public sector are trying to offer children working on unequally hard conditions alternative activities in day care centers.

Little Prince Day Care Social Center was established by Caritas, a Vanadzor-based German organization, and now houses 78 children. The center provides basic care for the families of children too.

“At the opening [ceremony] of the center, the ambassador said: ‘Dear officials, we are waiting for your support to open another such center, since you really need day care centers like this, and they need to be funded not only by our government, but by your state as well’,” Hasmik Sargsyan, head of the day care center, recalls.

The state has been planning to set up 25 day care centers since 2005, but so far there are only two such centers, one of them is based in Gyumri, and another one in Yerevan.

“They don’t open such centers, alright… but at least they could provide 10% or 5% joint financing alongside our donors,” she added.

Tamar Chikhinashvili, 13, has been attending Little Prince day care center for 2 years. She comes here every day with her sister after school.

“We stay here till half past five, and so the time that we had to spend at home not knowing what to do, we spend here. I’ve been attending computer classes and studying desk work,” she said.

However, social conditions often win over state and public sector efforts of providing basic care and provision for children in day care centers.

Grigoryan, of the state-funded day care center in Gyumri, says children often choose to go out to work even for a small amount of money.

“The child is forced to do so, notwithstanding the shame. Then they start to feel better, they realize that they help support their families and become independent. We don’t put questions point-blank, and don’t tell them not to work at all, perhaps their families rely on the money they bring home. But at the same time, the work can affect a child’s health, growth and education,” Grigoryan added.
She says child labor is now commonplace.

“When it seems we have already discovered all these children and there aren’t any families of this kind, we suddenly come up against new people. There are different reasons for this – social problems, unemployed parents, or those who are not aware of what their children are doing and simply lack child-rearing skills,” she said.

One hundred and twelve working minors have been registered at Gyumri’s day care center in 2006-2010, with 17 children registered only last year. (These figures are only by the Gyumri Day Care Center, while it is assumed that the number is higher. It is difficult to cite precise figures as children are not registered as workers). Adolescents were mainly involved in construction work, exchange of agricultural products and household goods in villages, seasonal farm work, such as harvesting, weeding, cattle breeding, and also worked as porters in stores, mini bus drivers aides, market sellers.

(This investigation is done with support from the Danish Association for Investigative Journalism /Scoop.)

Article source: https://bit.ly/qrPiCY

Category: News