Peoplespeak : Poverty alleviation: Answer to child labour problem

The government has banned child labour, but it is not solution. To end child labour we have to first bring an end to the cause of child labour. In most cases, child labour is done due to poverty. Most families in Nepal live below the poverty line. So, children from such families are compelled to sell their labour. That’s why the number of child labour in Nepal is high. To end child labour we must end poverty.

— Amish Ratna Sthapit, Hetauda

Child labour is still a cause for concern for two reasons: first, because of the number of children affected, which is very high; second, and most importantly, because of the negative repercussions that starting working life too young has on the personal development of children, as a result of the poor conditions in which it often takes place, and on the economic and social development of the country concerned.The cost of child labour is high: first of all for the children themselves, who reach adulthood with their physical, intellectual or emotional development impaired; and secondly to society, which must forgo part of the skilled human resources it needs in order to develop. In order to achieve lasting progress in the fight against this scourge, attitudes must therefore be changed among the different social groups; in other words, the indifference, passivity or resignation now prevailing must give way to understanding, anger and the will to take action.

— Nitu Kedia, Kathmandu

Awareness is the best solution, and to increase awareness education is the key. If every person will be educated, they will aware and it would be easy to solve the problem.

— Dharma

Banning child labour undoubtedly seems to be a positive step, but if we analyse it, then it will bring about several other problems. Just banning child labour without thinking about the rehabilitation of the children can make the problem worse. If it is done, then the children who earn their living by selling their labour will have to think of other ways to fill their stomach. And this will give birth to more and more criminals in society. Therefore, first of all rehabilitation and proper education of children working as labourers must be thought about before taking any step as banning their work.

— Saurav Suman, Sanepa

I do not think that banning child labour is the solution. We should try to eradicate cause that gives rise to child labour like poverty, lack of education, over population, lack of practical education. It would be better if we could launch special programmes that could support parents as well as children who are the victims of this problems.

— Rabin Banjade

I do not think banning the child labour can solve this problem. The main reason for this problem is poverty. Till poverty remains, this problem will not be solved.

— Ashish Shrestha

Child Labour is no doubt one of the stark realities of developing countries but then banning child labour altogether might be more devastating to children as mentioned who have nothing but to sell their labour. In my opinion, our country needs to come up with strong policies on welfare of children’s needs and have strategies to monitor children who are providing their labour for good living and is well sustained. Since our country does not have the funds to house the needs of all children who are abandoned or are living on the streets, to help NGOs can set up checks on families who are housing the needy children. To map the effort, a good plan for example, calls could be placed for such families/corporations who are willing to house needy children and who provide them education, good living for a helping hand at home or workplace and timely monitoring can be done. The families/corporations housing these children should be provided with enough awareness on the development of the children and their welfare.

— Anupa

Just banning child labour without providing alternatives is in not the answer. It will make the situation worse. The core reality of many families in Nepal is that the family cannot survive without sending their children to work. This is a a fact which everyone including NGO’s and all anti-child labour activists must accept. Banning child labour would mean robbing many households of income. What good will it do? The only remedy I see against the child labour is to provide at least free food and education to the needy ones. Spending on researchers and laws will now fetch nothing. The government should guarantee a minimum financial support to the family with children who cannot afford to meet even the living expenses. This is the only remedy that I see for the short run. In the long run, the government should encourage vocational education rather that just a bookish education. The education pattern must be changed.

— Rajendra Maharjan

I agree that child labour is a harsh and growing problem of our country but banning it may not be a practically feasible solution. The first thing is eduction — not only to the children but also to people who exploit them. The children should be rehabilitated in orphanages or support centres. Government as well as local help should be sought to tackle this problem.

— Geshan Manandhar

If we think about child labour — if the children are banned from working in hotels/houses or any other sector, who is going to feed them? Some NGOs and other government helpers may for some time, but as time passes, the story returns to square one. So prohibition or banning is not enough to sort out this problem. There are lots things we can do to solve this problem like adopting one of them, funding their education, food. At least these steps can bring some changes.

— Jyoti Dewan, Biratnagar

Child labour should be redefined in our laws, our mindset and our behaviour. Children have been the victims of the rectangular tug of war of politicians, human rights activists, employers and the society. Politicians and human rights activists always talk about child labour but not about children who belong to the underprivileged and underdeveloped countries. Empty stomachs first think about food, not about futile rights and speeches. So allowing child labour in a wise manner can solve the problem of poor children. Banning child labour can only solve the problem of selfish politicians and human rights activists. Child labour regularly supervised by laws and other mechanism could do its best for children and prevent children from exploitation and make their future better in every field — food, education, human rights.

— Badri Prakash Niroula