Just a glance at a child, can soothe any aching heart. Their innocent smiles, and listening to their loving words definitely brings a smile on anyone. And as a child grows up, unaware of the vagaries of what is it come, it believes that the world is a place of wonder and magic.
The childhood, is thus, supposed to be the age that allows the young ones the time & opportunity to learn, embrace, and experience all the goodness of the world around them. And yet, millions of children worldwide, never see the brighter side of the day because they are crushed against the insurmountable odds of labour forced upon them.
A child that should grow up with love and care, with fun and frolic, imbibing knowledge & wisdom, is instead forced into labour, due to a myriad set of circumstances. Often driven by poverty, lack of parental care, and without anyone to uphold their rights, these children end up working at a very tender age and fail to have any meaningful childhood to experience.
This leads to not just losing one of the most beautiful phases of their lives, but it results in individuals who haven’t experienced what it is to be loved, cared for, to be carefree, and have a normal sense of life. And they grow up to be youngsters and adults incapable of being able to demonstrate the fullness of either emotional or intellectual quotient.
If the youth is defined as the future of the nation, what kind of youngsters are we making when we deprive children of their childhood, due to forced labour?
In the words of Oliver Tambo, “The children of any nation are its future. A country, a movement, a person that does not value its youth and children does not deserve its future.”
Per the statistics of the International Labor Organization, in the last decade, child labour decreased 38%, and yet over 150 million children still remain in its clutches worldwide. And that is way too many in a civilized world of our times.
Thus, now is the time to act.
Act to rescue the dreams and hopes of a child, to increasing awareness, and to improve the avenues to rehabilitate children rescued from child labour. The Bible gives us a strong moral framework for such action when it says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Let not the scourge of child labour rob even a single child of their dreams, hopes, and aspirations. May those pure hearts continue to touch lives, and spread smiles, as they ought to, and they do.
Children are the epitome of the goodness that is required of us. Let no child be robbed of this purity, and let none be crushed under the weight of child labour!