Elsa Syed: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leaders

218 million children worldwide are victims of child labor. That is 218 million children forced into work that dismantles their childhood by being placed in situations that can harm their mental, physical, social and moral development. Victims of child labor often have no other choice but to accept dangerous jobs in sweatshops, factories, and mines, working long hours in grueling conditions for meager pay, due to their poor living conditions. Children are exploited into these fatal positions because they lack a voice, which is why it is so important for all of us to fight for them and be their voice.

During my early school years, my family moved from the US to Dhaka for a few years. It was eye-opening to see so many people living in the margins of society. Every day on my way to school, I would see children in the streets begging from car to car in ragged clothes, hoping the windows would roll down so they could receive what would amount to a few cents. 

When I think about these poor children, I realize that this could have been the lives of anyone of us. I could have been born into this vicious cycle of poverty, struggling every day to survive. It is our responsibility to restore the rights of these kids. This is why I am so grateful to be working with DCI. I was able to work with several girls at DCI’s Sun Child Orphanage in Bangladesh. I saw how close of a family these girls are, and how they learn together every day in hopes to create successful careers and to become independent in the future. The younger children were able to look up to their older friends who were pursuing higher education and beginning their careers. I was able to help the younger girls work on their English and writing. But it wasn’t even the English lesson that made them happy. Simply my being there and spending time with them put smiles on their faces. It’s honestly a privilege to be given the opportunity to make even the smallest impact on the lives of these children. DCI has inspired me to continue helping to provide children with the right tools and resources to empower them.

Elsa Syed
Youth Leader, Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI)

Elsa Syed lives in Texas, and is a rising junior at Plano East’s IB World School. She has been involved with DCI since 2017 and has created a club at school that brings other people to join DCI’s mission.