Recently I was shocked to read a BBC article regarding child labour in Peru. It presented a statistic that more than two million boys and girls work – roughly 28% of all children between the ages of six and seventeen.
Child labour is a very controversial topic and divides development workers. One side is the need, children work so that they can contribute to the household income. For extremely poor Peruvians this can make a huge difference on who eats and who does not. On the other hand by working children are often not going to school and therefore missing out not only on the education but on many social and cultural opportunities.
A model that is providing some success is one that allows children to work but bring the education to them, holding class in spare rooms of factories for instance. Is this encouraging child labour? Or is it operating with the reality of child labour? In Europe it was common for children to work in factories during industrialisation period. Similarly in America in the early 1900, made famous by Lewis Hine, children worked selling news papers on streets and in textile factories.
You may be wondering why this topic? On Wednesday July 11 2012 Peru launched a $13m project (donated by the US) to improve access to education in rural areas. Its objective is to speed up the reduction of child labour.
Here are a variety of different sources so that you may come to you own conclusion on child labour or come to the realization that it isn’t a straight forward issue.
Peru takes its ‘first step’ in the eradication of child labour. Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/jul/16/peru-eradicate-child-labour-education?newsfeed=true
Peru launches project to fight child labour. BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-18806431
Peru aims to end child labour but some see case for work. BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-18058079
I am sure that there are more. If you find any articles please share in the comment section.