SAR-I-PUL (Pajhwok): An estimated 20,000 children in northern Sar-i-Pul province have been involved in hard labour or in the collection garbage on roads or streets, an official said on Monday.
Najibullah Esmati, Child Protection Section head in the Social Affairs Department, said on the bases of Social Affairs Department statistics around 20,000 children in the province were engaged in hard labour.
He said most children in involved in hard labour are due to poverty, or their parents are elder and unable to work.
Most of the children who are engaged in hard work are in Sayad district, due to the hot weather they have school recess and they have time to engaged in hard work, including working in clay kilns in Sar-i-Pul and neighboring provinces
Omaid, 12, said: “My parents are handicapped, my eight-year-old brother has to work instead of going to school and laying games. If we don’t work, we will starve.”
He asked officials and aid providing agencies to help him and all the children who are working due to their deteriorated economic condition and are unable to go to school
Mahmood, the resident of Syedabad village and the father of these two children said he lost one of his hand years back and was unable now to work, adding that he has to send his children to work.
.” I know that now is the time of my children’s education, they should go to school, and their future will be bright, but our financial condition is not good, I am disabled from my hand and my wife suffered from eye disability, these two children are our breadwinners, I send them to work to earn money for our food and I am worried about their future,” he said.
He also asked the government to pay attention to the problems faced by people and introduce a system on the bases of which children should go to school instead of work.
Hikmatullah Haidari, a civil society activist, said that child hard labour was a challenge or the future of these children and it was the government responsibility to stop child labour and introduce alternative programme.
He said child should spend their childhood the way they deserve and it was their right. A labored child is a prejudice person, adding that anti-peace groups used these children as tool for their nefarious designs.
The Social Affairs Department official, however, said that last year with the cooperation of UNICEF vocational training facility was arranged for 884 children and the process will continue in the future.