Abrar Mamun: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leaders

When I first travelled to Dhaka at a young age, I immediately recognized the stark juxtaposition between my life in the United States and the lives of several children growing up in Bangladesh. To this day, I can still remember watching children as young as 5 years old working in the streets of Dhaka and Khulna, selling fruits and other products in an attempt to provide for their families. Although I was the same age as them, it was clear that I lived a life of luxury, one that was filled with financial security and numerous job/educational opportunities. At the time, I couldn’t even imagine that these children had to be the breadwinners of their families; my biggest concern was missing the next episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. I began working with DCI because of the profound issues that child labor presents for future generations of children. To this day, adolescents are forced to work in the dangerous conditions of streets, fields, and factories. They have become the subjects of exploitation and inhumane working conditions, essentially robbing them of their right to safety and stripping them of their well-being.
Moreover, one must consider the extensive physical and time-related burdens that labor places on children. When kids are spending all of their time in the fields, they cannot even think about pursuing an education. The parents of these children will say that education is unnecessary because it doesn’t provide basic necessities, like food and money. Thus, child labor threatens social mobility and serves to further the vicious existence of abject poverty.

All of us can play a role in ending child labor. We must do everything in our power to teach these children that their lives matter – that they have a right to happiness and future prosperity. For anyone reading this, I sincerely ask that you do more research on the subject and join us in combatting child labor practices. If we do not persistently take action, these practices will continue to cheat our children out of bright futures! Let’s join hands and end complicity!

Abrar Mamun
Youth Leader, Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI)

About Abrar Mamun
Hello! My name is Abrar Mamun, and I am a rising sophomore at Rice University in Houston, TX. While working with DCI in high school, I truly began to see the tangible effects of our work in rural areas of Bangladesh and other third world countries. Moving forward, I hope to continue working with the organization to mitigate the lasting effects of poverty and child labor.