Salesian programs rescue children from labor and meet basic needs, education
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missions, the American development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and the international community in honoring the World Day Against Child Labor. The day has been celebrated on June 12 since 2002 and draws attention to the global extent of child labor and the actions and efforts needed to eliminate it.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) sets a theme for the World Day Against Child Labor corresponding to a current or future challenge. This year’s theme “Universal social protection to end child labour” calls for increased investment in systems to build strong social protection and protect children from child labour.
The ILO noted that at the start of 2020, 160 million children – 63 million girls and 97 million boys – were involved in child labour, representing nearly one in 10 children worldwide. A statement on the day said: “Government social protection systems are essential for tackling poverty and vulnerability, and for eradicating and preventing child labour. Social protection is both a human right and a powerful policy tool to prevent families from resorting to child labor in times of crisis. However, in 2020 and before the COVID-19 crisis took hold, only 46.9% of the world’s population was actually covered by at least one social protection benefit, while the remaining 53.1% – up to to 4.1 billion people – were totally unprotected. Coverage for children is even lower. Nearly three-quarters of children, or 1.5 billion, had no social protection.
Child labor is associated with low educational attainment and, later, with jobs that do not meet basic decent work criteria. Those who leave school early are less likely to obtain stable employment and are more vulnerable to chronic unemployment and poverty. Many of those who leave school early, particularly between the ages of 15 and 17, are engaged in hazardous work and classified among the worst forms of child labour.
“Children who are forced to work even for a fraction of the day are deprived of the education they need to learn valuable skills that will lead to stable employment later in life,” said Fr Gus Baek, Director of Salesian Missions. “Unfortunately, in many situations children are forced to work around the clock with barely enough time to eat, let alone study, and their prospects in life are diminished. Salesian programs rescue children from labor and ensure their basic needs are met and they are enrolled in school.
In honor of World Day Against Child Labor 2022, the Salesian Mission is proud to highlight Salesian programs around the world that are helping to eliminate child labor through quality education.
Salesian missionaries have started a new mission on the outskirts of Huambo, about 600 kilometers from Angola capital of Luanda. Invited by the local archbishop, three missionaries began their work in August 2021. Supported by seven volunteers, the Salesians began a local pastoral service open to the more than 100,000 people who live in 15 villages in the parish.
The Salesians support local youth and women through educational opportunities, especially basic learning and technical education in the agriculture and livestock sectors, which are the main sources of income. activity at the local level. The Salesians also aim to open a primary school, literacy classes for around 2,000 women and a network of oratories where more than 5,000 children from different villages can play and find a welcoming environment.
Salesian missionaries began their work with street children in Angola in the 1990s when groups of children fleeing war flocked to the capital. Today, long after the end of the war, children continue to flee their homes for various reasons, putting them at risk of exploitation, child labor and other abuses.
Salesian missionaries are working to give young people involved in child labor hope for a better future at four Don Bosco Foyer centers in Benign. Two are located in Porto-Novo, one in Cotonou and another in Kandi. Most of the young people in the program had left their poor families and were looking for work. Some parents had given their children to craftsmen to learn a trade only to find that the children were treated like slaves. Other times the children are forced to work to support the family. All these children have dropped out of school and are victims of exploitation and abuse.
Don Bosco Foyer is a residence for children coming directly from the street. Children’s most basic needs are met, including housing, adequate food, clothing and access to adults who help them feel safe and protected from the exploitation and violence that many face when they live on the street.
Don Bosco Foyer first provides psychological assistance when a child enters the program. Staff members strive to understand the family or child labor issues that each child faces. The children then receive health care, food aid, reception, accommodation, school reintegration and vocational training. Some young people study until they obtain their diploma while others receive qualifying training.
The Child Safety Net program, which is part of the Bangalore Provincial Development Office, India (BREADS – Bangalore Rural Education and Development Society), rescued 127 children from child labor from July 2021 to January 2022. The children rescued were aged between 11 and 18.
The children were engaged in bag and cap sewing, saree dyeing, glass cutting, printing, paper making, steel chair production, kulfi/ice cream production and craft work. construction. All rescue operations were carried out in collaboration with local police and labor services.
Child Safety Net staff discovered that the children had been brought to Bangalore by contractors, who paid advances to their parents. The children were forced to work all day until late at night in small, dark and suffocating conditions, with little or no medical attention.
The Child Safety Net team coordinated the rescue of the children with the local labor inspector and the police. Once safe, they were taken for medical examinations and verification of their ages. The children were first accommodated in the BOSCO Open Shelter Home where they underwent counseling sessions while the parents were called in to decide what would happen. The children were returned to their parents who promised to send them to a home to continue their studies.
Salesian missionaries in Rango, in the city of Butare, Rwanda, work to help children who have been affected by child labor, disease, hunger and abuse. St. John Bosco Parish and Salesian Vocational Training Center has been operating since 1996, providing education and social development services to help poor and at-risk youth. The missionaries provide training in several vocational courses, including construction, tailoring, welding, carpentry, hospitality-related skills, mechanics, cooking and hairdressing.
Many of the young people in the Salesian programs in Rango are former street children. UNICEF noted that there were approximately 7,000 street children in Rwanda. The numbers have, however, increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, as well as school closures and the rising incidence of domestic violence.
The Salesians offer a specific program for street children known as Don Bosco Children Ejo Heza, which in the local language means “tomorrow will be a better day”. The program offers a first contact with young people living on the street and an invitation to access psychological, educational and social rehabilitation that leads to family reunification, if possible. The program was launched in the spring of 2020.
ANGOLA: Youth and women get education/photo opportunities ANS (permissions for use and guidelines must be requested from ANS)
BENIN: Child laborers find safety and hope/ANS Photo (permissions for use and guidelines must be requested from ANS)
INDIA: Child Safety Net program saves 127 children from work/Photo courtesy of BREADS – Bangalore Rural Education and Development Society
International Labor Organization – world day against child labor 2022
RWANDA: “Tomorrow will be a better day” program serves youth at risk/ANS Photo (permissions for use and guidelines must be requested from ANS)