Shah Nawaz

Shumonto Sanyal: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leaders

Shumonto Sanyal: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leaders

A great thing about children is the fact that they can maintain their innocence for so long. Their innocence plays a huge factor in keeping them cheerful and happy all the time. However, that happens to be true for kids born into a normal lifestyle or kids born into a financially stable lifestyle, not a child born into an impoverished lifestyle. Children born into poverty have their innocence shattered by the age of five years old due to the fact that they have to start providing for the family since their parents cannot provide for the family alone. And when the children accept that burden they sacrifice receiving an education. Every single child, regardless of their economic status, is entitled to receive an education. To eradicate the crisis of child labor education must be prioritized for children in poverty. If education is prioritized for children in poverty then that will stop children from being hired for work in the first place because they will be too busy getting educated.
As for the children who are already working, extreme measures should be taken so that they will have access to education. If a law has to be put into place specifically stating that every single child must receive an education then a law should be placed if that is what it takes. The reason education should be taken seriously is due to the fact that education can change the course of these kids’ lives. Before they received an education, they may have been destined to be poor laborers their entire life but with an education, they can become extremely successful in any career they choose, and every kid is entitled to an opportunity at success. But in order to get the children laborers to an education action must be taken from people of power and local communities. People of power can help by passing laws and ordinances that make child labor illegal and local communities can help by giving money to the kids where they need the money so they can go to school to receive the education that they are entitled to. So, at the end of the day, everybody has to unite and contribute in their own way in order to eradicate the global crisis of child labor.

Shumonto Sanyal
Youth Leader, Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI)
Shumonto Sanyal lives in Atlanta Georgia. He recently graduated high school and will be attending Georgia State University. Shumonto Sanyal has been involved with DCI since 2018.

Raishma Kazi: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leaders

Raishma Kazi: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leaders

The Fight for Child Labor Rights
Child labor has been practiced throughout all of human history. In the U.S., child labor reached its peak during the Industrial Revolution – kids as young as four years old were working in crowded, unclean factories with little-to-no protections. Children worked long hours, were underpaid, and were unable to receive proper education. In 1900, efforts to eliminate child labor were added to social reform; by 1938, legislation was passed placing limitations on child labor. In 1949, Congress extended protections, and today, regulations exist in almost all industries to protect kids within service industries. Though there is still work to be done, especially in the agricultural sector, the reforms related to child labor are the reason why children across America are protected.
Unfortunately, reforms like this don’t exist everywhere. It’s estimated that one in ten of all children worldwide are child laborers.
In least-developed countries, around one in four children participates in labor that is detrimental to their well-being. Africa has an estimated 72 million child laborers. Asia and the Pacific have around 62 million child laborers. Collectively, these three regions account for nine of every ten children being exploited as a labor source. The other children are accounted for in the Americas – about 11 million – Europe and Central America – about 6 million – and the Arab States – 1 million.
The importance of children being properly cared for and educated in any society cannot be understated. Proper education and access to resources allows children to not only expand their knowledge but cultivate ideas to generate progress within societies. An uneducated population of children within a country or region is in an indicator for where that area will be in the next era. If change is to occur, it must begin young. All children deserve access to proper care and education, but none of this can be accessible if kids are forced to work. If lower developed countries are to succeed, labor laws and protections for children are not only necessary, but essential.

Raishma Kazi
Youth Leader, Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI)
About Raishma Kazi
Raishma Kazi is an incoming freshman at the University of Texas at Austin. She is studying business, and hopes to attend law school after earning her undergraduate degree. Raishma has been a dedicated volunteer with DCI since 2009, working tirelessly to promote DCI’s message and help raise funds for the underprivileged.

Nabeeha Haq: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leader

Nabeeha Haq: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leader

According to research conducted by the Overseas Development Institute, children in Dhaka slums as young as 6 years old are employed full time, earning less than $2 a day. These children work with toxic industrial chemicals, exposing their young, developing bodies to asbestos, bitumen, and heavy metals like chromium. The health-related side effects of these working conditions are immense. Many laborers experience growth deficits, hormonal imbalances, and permanently damaging physical injuries. Child labor robs children of the livelihood of their youth, prompting them to mature and harden to deal with the difficulty of their living conditions. It is essentially a sentence to a lifetime of poverty. It is difficult to break the cycle of child labor. Many parents depend on the minimal income their children make to sustain the household. As a result, these young individuals are prevented from pursuing an education. They are barred from ever transcending the strong grasp of poverty. The continuation of child labor in South Asian countries like Bangladesh is facilitated by the existence of the concept as a social norm, as well as a lack of public welfare infrastructure, and poverty mitigation strategies.
As Malala Yousafzai eloquently stated, education is the best weapon through which we can fight poverty. If these helpless children are educated, they will be able to help themselves, their families, and their country move towards a brighter future. We, as young Bangladeshi individuals who have been given the opportunity to prioritize our education over everything, have a duty to give back. We have never had to worry about our health and wellbeing growing up. We have never had to wonder when our next meal will be. Let’s speak up and raise awareness of the prevalence of child labor in Bangladesh. We cannot stop until the burden of every child is alleviated. Let’s work together to push for a better future for these youth. I humbly urge you to support DCI’s mission to provide educational programs for these bright and capable children. End child labor today for a stronger nation tomorrow.

Nabeeha Haq
Youth Leader, Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI)

Nabeeha Haq is a volunteer from Massachusetts. She is a rising junior at Brandeis University, double majoring in Public Health and Biology. She has a passion for working with children, and is drawn to DCI’s mission to empower, educate, and provide care to the youth of Bangladesh and their families.
Nabeeha Haq

Labiba Zahin: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leaders

Labiba Zahin: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leaders

Every child deserves a chance at happiness. However, many children combat obstacles- disease, disabilities, lack of access to quality education, and other facilities– that may seem insurmountable. Sadly, not every child gets to enjoy a full childhood. Too many childhoods are still being cut short. Every child bound by basic fundamental rights. These rights apply to every child, irrespective of his/her parent’s race, color, gender, or creed. So, why are child rights important?

Children are impressionable and full of hope. Their childhood is meant for being joyful and loving. Yet the reality of childhood is altogether different for many children. Abuse and exploitation have been faced by children all throughout history. They starve from hunger and homelessness, suffer from harmful working conditions, die of high infant mortality, receive inadequate health care, and have limited opportunities for quality education.
A child need not live such a life. Children have the right to develop, be protected, and participate in decisions that affect their lives.

Child labor is a multifaceted issue with different socio-economic and political causes- lack of access to education, weak enforcement of laws, lack of women’s empowerment, poverty, and insufficient social protection for poverty-stricken people. Above all of that, a grave pandemic has been added to the list. People all over the world are being engulfed by the vicious cycle of poverty, which is likely to push millions of children into labor.

For unlocking their full potential, children require a safe and supportive environment where they can thrive. It is this time of crisis that calls for us to action. There has never been a more important time to educate and empower the next generation with knowledge about their rights. Every small contribution can add up to a significant positive impact. Taking social media as a valuable platform to speak out against child labor and sponsoring a child’s education could be the initial steps towards achieving this goal. I hope with all my heart to wake up to a world that has eradicated all forms of child rights violation. It is my belief that we can make this happen if we are firmly united in this mission together!

Labiba Zahin
Youth Leader, Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI)

Marjia Ahmed: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leaders

Marjia Ahmed: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leaders

Child Labor: A Time For Change
Around the world, 152 million children are victims to child labor. That is about 6.9% of all the children in the world. Most victims are only between the ages of 5 and 11. These children are supposed to be at school, learning, playing, and having fun! They are not supposed to be in overcrowded factories, underpaid, and at a risk for their lives. Child labor is not only unjust and inhumane, but it impacts the future of the world. Sooner or later, these children will become adults, but what will they have to show for it? They will not have an education, and due to this it will become difficult for them to succeed in life. Instead, they will more than likely be stuck in the same position they were in as children. They will be left struggling for the rest of their lives because no one decided to intervene– so please intervene. Many popular online brands use child laborers as a means of getting their work done. In recent years, companies such as Shein, Romwe, and Forever 21 have been caught in scandals regarding child labor.
According to the Dressember Foundation, “Child labor is prominent in the fashion industry due to its complex supply chain and high demand for products from consumers like you and I.” It is our job and responsibility, as people with the power to help, to aid those in need, especially these children. It takes only a few minutes to donate to organizations working on issues such as this one. It also takes very little time to educate yourself on what conditions these children are in and how they are living. Boycotting brands who use child labor and sweatshops to make a profit is not difficult either. Do your part as a citizen of this world and help make it a better place for not only children, but everyone.

Marjia Ahmed
Youth Leader, Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI)

Marjia Ahmed is a junior at Plainfield East High School. She was born in a Bengali family and has always had a great connection to her roots. Marjia Ahmed has been a volunteer at DCI since 2018.

Alissa Candal: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leaders

Alissa Candal: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leaders

Children and teens are going to run the world one day. There is no doubt about it. Just as the baby-boomers are becoming senior citizens, just as 90s kids are entering their 30s… Children have always, and will always, become the future. But millions upon millions of children around the world are forced into child labor; including dangerous jobs under cruel conditions. I like to think that I am an empathetic person, so I understand the need families have for financial security – especially in times of economic crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, which put a strain on families and their sources of income. But providing this as a reason for employing children does not provide an excuse for robbing children of their ability to grow up safely, and to live normal lives. Not only is it unhealthy to put so much pressure on growing kids, but it is entirely unfair. You only have one childhood- one time to be carefree, to be rambunctious, to make mistakes, to be a kid. What kind of world are we building, if children cannot be children? If adulthood is forced upon millions of people at such a young age? Certainly, it is not a world I want to live in. Change is needed. And we, the youth, are the ones who can bring it.
Alissa Candal
Youth Leader, Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI)

About Alissa Candal:
Alissa Candal is a student from Connecticut. She is starting her junior year of High School this August, 2020. She loves to help people in need, and to put her love of writing to good use – both of which led her to volunteer for DCI.

Prosun Das: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leaders

Prosun Das: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leaders

Child labor is an issue that continues to negatively affect the lives of hundreds of millions of children. It is common in countries where living conditions are rough and there are high demands of labor that does not require education. Due to the difficulties in providing for their families, parents often send their children to do work. Although this does help in the short term, this leads to poor attendance in school and a lack of attention to studies. The natural course for this is a vicious cycle leading to uneducated adults that also have to get their children to work to support the family. The answer to this question isn’t as simple as a ban of child labor (although that must be one part of it).

Success in eliminating child labor will lead to a world that is more educated and propel so called third world countries. One concern is that the lack of children in the workforce will temporarily hurt the economies of countries that have high rates of child labor. For example, many children in Bangladesh work in the textile industry, which is one of the most important exports for the country.
Although it would be great to simply ban all child labor as soon as possible, it may be easier to convince legislators to phase it out starting from the most dangerous jobs, and then slowly work their way up to banning all child labor.
Another major concern is the fact that if the education system is poor and does not equip the children with the knowledge they need to be successful, parents may see the education they are getting as wastes of time. Although looking at this issue from a moral standpoint, you can say that even if the education is not good, it is still better than any job and definitely better than many of the dangerous jobs some children do, it would be even better if the education they get is beneficial for them. To conclude, child labor is a problem that will not be solved without sacrifices, but we owe it to those it affects to try our hardest to help them in any way possible.

Prosun Das
Youth Leader, Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI)

Prosun das lives in Maryland. He is an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Prosun Das has been a volunteer involved with DCI since 2010, at 8 years old.

Connie Xiao : World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leaders

Connie Xiao : World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leaders

“I nearly suffocated inside the pits due to lack of oxygen…”

I need to tell you a story. It’s the story of someone who has been robbed and exploited to the utmost degree. This is the story of Hamisi.

Unbeknownst to his family, Hamisi boarded a bus and traveled 70 kilometers away from his home to an unfamiliar village. Alone and without a single possession, Hamisi spent several days in this village desperately searching for work at a local mining site to help feed his family. One day, he got lucky. Hamisi was hired to travel back and forth between the earth’s surface and the mining pits below, delivering tools and water bottles to coworkers around him. Each subsequent day, he plummeted 300 meters into the ground, submerging himself in total darkness and extreme heat. In these underground tunnels, Hamisi would breathe in graphite dust rather than eat food.
He would work 18 hours a day rather than hang out with friends. He would toil for a daily pay of 60 cents rather than gain knowledge inside a classroom. Hamisi gave up his family and his home for a future that only crushed him. But unlike most other stories, our main character is only 11. Hamisi is still a child.

There are 152 million children around the world who have a story like Hamisi’s. These child laborers are robbed of an education, fair pay, and healthy physical development. They are forced to abandon both their futures and their childhoods at the hands of a greedy and selfish world.

I think of Hamisi’s rough, dirtied hands and look at my own. Unlike him, I was undeservingly given a childhood of freedom and ease. Now, it is my responsibility to fight for every child who does not have the same privilege – who was forced or deceived into soul-crushing labor. I hope you listen to every story like Hamisi’s. I hope you advocate for the 152 million lost voices of the world. It is time for child labor to end. Together, we can make it happen.

Connie Xiao
Youth Leader, Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI)

Connie Xiao was born and raised in Connecticut. She is currently studying towards a BS in International Politics with a minor in International Development at Georgetown University. She hopes to dedicate her future towards aiding vulnerable populations who suffer from hunger, poverty, inadequate resources, and migration crises. Connie has been a youth volunteer with DCI since 2020.