SCHOOL TIMES : Say ‘no’ to child labour

Children are called the ‘future nation builders’.

Any person till the age of 14 years is called a child.There are over than 2.5 million children in Nepal. Many live below the poverty line are are compelled to work to earn their keep. This is child labour. They are involved in various kinds of work as domestic help in many urban households, and as labourers in garment and carpet factories, in stone quarries or are rag pickers or porters. And most of them lead a hand-to-mouth existence. Many children also do not study but stay home instead to help their parents.

Many children in rural areas help out in the daily chores by picking wood or twigs for fuel. However, child labour is deep rooted both in rural and urban areas.

In most of the cases we find that employees exploit these children and they are punished for even the smallest mistake without even considering the fact that they are just children. Many are even tortured.

The children to fail to find any gainful employment land up in the busy lanes of our Capital and become one of the faceless street children. Many resort to various petty, and sometimes serious, crimes in order to survive on the mean streets. They encounter harassment from all sides, street violence and suppression and exploitation by various street gangs.

Child labour is a crime. It is time enough that we provided our fellow children an opportunity to enjoy this fleeting time that we call childhood.

People encouraging child labour should be punished and the issue should be seriously addressed by the government. Our country should be made a ‘Free from Child Labour’ zone.

— Santosh Budhathoki, Class X, Gyan Shikha B School, Lalitpur