Education is the key to fight the detrimental impact of child labor

Published Mar 30, 2018
Image credit: Raphealny/ Pixabay

Imagine waking at the break of dawn on a Monday morning because you have an early start at the quarry. You think of ways you can earn some coins to help your family purchase tomorrow’s meal, but can hardly think of any because yesterday’s earnings was insufficient to buy food for this morning. Your stomach growls angrily, so you wrap your arms around your stomach to try and ease its demands. You feel exhausted and faint from yesterday’s work, but know that there is no escape from today’s struggles. It is excruciating to wish for at least one slice of bread and knowing it is impossible to find food in the storage. So, what else can you do, but to grab your things and leave for another 12 or more hours of work with an empty stomach.

This is not just a once a week occurrence for numerous children in impoverished countries. This is their everyday, and it won't be long until the children you see in the photo face this harsh reality.

The International Labor Organization released that “the number of child laborers in Nigeria is estimated at 15 million” (UNICEF). Imagine 15 million children working tedious jobs such as street vendors, working in quarries and farms, washers, shoe shiners and many other jobs that are abysmal for a child instead of attending school. These labors are dangerous, especially for children under the age of 14. It is also reported that young girls fare worse than boys, especially in rural communities, because they are subjected to “triple the burden of work whether paid or unpaid” than young boys (UNICEF). It is a highly serious concern to exploit these children and deprive them of a proper education.

 Forcing these children to labor that some adults even struggle with opens the door to more serious consequences on well-being. These harsh conditions result to extreme fatigue, sickness, depression, physical assaults, mental disorders, and aggression. It is no wonder the crime rate and civil unrest in Nigeria are equally high.

Education is one of the keys that will enlighten them of possibilities they could only dream of. With proper education, they would be more knowledgeable on sanitation, health care and disease prevention. They would be able to attain better jobs in the future that allows them to be financially secure or at least be able to provide enough for their families. They would be able to make use of their intelligence and skills for more fruitful endeavors than just crime. They would be able to understand laws and encourage a bigger impact on a national scale. However, these possibilities will remain dreams if no one makes a stand. It is time to take actions to ensure better futures for the next generation.

Education is the foundation that can eradicate subjecting children to labor in unsafe environments. With people’s generosity to help promote education and stand against illiteracy for these impoverished communities and countries, we would be able to save a child’s life, a family and a whole community from being trapped in poverty-stricken life.  

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Jamie Dee

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