International day against child labour

12/06/2022: Child labour also exists in Europe. You can find out where and why this happens here.


According to the ILO ILO (International Labor Organisation), almost 160 million children around the world do not have a carefree childhood, but are forced to work. This is dangerous, keeps them from going to school or harms them in some other way. The main reason for this is the poverty of the parents. To escape this cycle of poverty, education must be accessible to all children. If children go to school and receive sufficient support, if their parents are offered alternatives out of poverty - then this is the most effective measure against child labour, which mainly affects children from discriminated marginalised groups.

Child labour in Europe

There are also countries in Europe where child labour is on the agenda. One example is Kosovo. Every sixth child between the ages of five and 17 in Kosovo has to support the family with income or other work in order not to go hungry.

There is little regular work for adults in Kosovo and no functioning social system. Many families are therefore forced to send their sons and daughters to the streets instead of to school. There they collect rubbish or go begging.

What means child labour?
Child labour is work for which children are too young, which is exploitative or dangerous, which damages physical or mental development, or which prevents children from attending school. Child labour is a violation of children's rights worldwide. Helping out around the house or legally employing young people does not fall under child labour.

When begging is the only way out of hunger

Children romp across the concrete floor of a courtyard in Prizren, a city in southern Kosovo. Old plastic buckets and scraps of cloth serve as toys. A young woman kneels on the ground and washes dozens of jars and pots with a garden hose. Aferdita B. stands apart and watches the action. She has lived here with her husband Naser for about eight years. The two have nine sons and five daughters, some of whom have already had children of their own. A total of 24 people live in a barrack consisting of two rooms and a narrow corridor. The roof leaks "When it rains, water drips in," says Aferdita, who gets about 100 euros a month in pension from the state. But the rent for the dilapidated hut is more than twice as high.

Aferdita's husband cannot go to work, he is in poor health. She herself often does not feel well either. The family members try to find a job now and then, which is difficult, because in Kosovo about a quarter of the population is unemployed. The money available to the large family is hardly ever enough. For firewood, the boys have to go into town with their carts and collect wood waste. Not infrequently, the plates remain empty for two or three days. And then maybe a little bread. "Even the little ones sometimes go to bed without a meal. But at some point they need something because they grow," Aferdita says. So that she can buy food, she has to send the children to beg. Sometimes the children "earn" up to 100 euros a day. For many of them, schooling is pushed into the background.

This is a vicious circle that must be broken out of. CONCORDIA is convinced that the cycle of poverty can only be stopped through education. In Kosovo, our day centre offers a kindergarten for early childhood education, learning and homework support for school children, music lessons with two choirs and an orchestra, as well as an education programme for young people. In addition, we are currently launching our mobile social work, in the course of which we distribute food packages to families in particularly poor circumstances.

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