Caitlyn Chow: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leaders

Although it might be difficult to divert our attention away from everything happening around the world right now, I want to shed some light on today, June 12, to commemorate World Day Against Child Labor. Currently 152 million children are working in child labor. When I read that statistic, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of empathy for those kids. 152 million. That’s 30 million more people than the entire population of each Japan and Mexico.

Something that’s really important to me is education. Education is at the core of almost anything. A proper education is the key to a chest of opportunities. But these child laborers don’t have access to such an education, trapping them in a cycle of despair. According to The Borgen Project, there’s a positive correlation between child labor and school dropout rates. In order to support their families, children must abandon their studies to pursue hazardous, backbreaking work.

What’s really alarming is the disproportionate effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted upon these vulnerable children. From a health, financial, and safety standpoint, these impoverished families’ livelihoods have taken a major blow. While some of us are fortunate enough to be comfy at home, safely quarantined, these families don’t have the resources to bounce back from this crisis. These of course are troubling times for everyone, but think about these child laborers. They had nothing before this pandemic. Imagine how they are doing now.

Every child has the right to learn, grow, and succeed. But financial obstacles deprive them of this right. In order to help these helpless youth escape this perpetual struggle, I ask you to donate your time, voice, or charity for the cause. Research businesses that partner with child labor-sourced suppliers; only support businesses that follow fair-trade, ethical practices. Donate whatever you can to nonprofits- DCI, World Vision, Save the Children- that use these funds to support these children and their families abroad. You can also volunteer at such organizations. Raise awareness about the issue. Educate yourself on the topic and how it can be combated. Every contribution makes a difference.

In a decade where progressive action is at the core of society’s beliefs, these children deserve a better future. And during this global health crisis, it’s imperative that once we have taken care of ourselves, we take care of each other. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.

Thank you so much for your time,
Caitlyn Chow
Youth Leader, Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI)