A young girl cooking a meal in Lahore, Pakistan.
What can you do to help?
Despite the enormity of the problem, child labour is a phenomenon that can be combated, not only by policy makers, but also by ordinary citizens. Below are some suggestions on what students can do to take action and get involved in the fight against child labour:
- Inform yourselves. The first thing you can do is BE AWARE about the state of child labour in the world, and be informed about the abuses and injustices that go on. It affects you more than you would think. Then you are in a position to go and inform other people about child labour.
- Find out if your Government has ratified the ILO Conventions on child labour. See the list of countries who have ratified ILO Convention No. 138 and ILO Convention No. 182. If your government has not ratified the Conventions, write a letter to your government leaders to urge them to do so. If your government has ratified the Conventions, find out what is being done to implement them.
- Talk to businesses involved in the production of goods and ask them what measures they take to ensure that the goods they produce are child labour free.
- Recruit others into the campaign. In your region, establish contact with other young people in schools and community groups who could work with you in your action against child labour.
- Sensitize others. Create a presentation pack to raise awareness on child labour using the resources and photos available on the following web pages: ILO/IPEC campaign and advocacy, ILO/IPEC information resources database, ILO photo gallery.
- Awareness-raising. Organize an event to raise awareness about child labour. This could be a play, concert or public debate and you could involve local musicians, actors and artists in your community. Remember to also involve parents and family members, who can be precious sources of knowledge and inspiration. Perhaps you could make posters or write to newspapers or magazines about the issue. What ideas can you come up with to raise awareness about child labour? The SCREAM education pack and the IPEC Youth in Action resources will give you lots of ideas.
- Encourage more participation. Involve your wider community in events leading to the World Day Against Child Labour observed yearly on 12 June, or organise an child labour awareness week to attract the greatest public attention possible. Distribute a press release informing and appealing to community groups and universities to join in, and establish contacts in the media for publicising such events.
- Link up with others. You can combine your efforts with those of other people by using the 12 to 12 Community Portal to end child labour. Check into the portal regularly and share your awareness-raising ideas and experiences with other young people from around the world. By sharing your actions you can inspire others to carry out a similar initiative and increase the impact of your efforts!
No individual, no organization, even the largest one, can begin to stop child labour on its own, and no action, even the smallest, can be dismissed as being too small to bring about change. It is only through joining the forces of goodwill on all levels of society that we can hope to put an end to child labour.
“Few human rights abuses are so widely condemned, yet so widely practised. Let us make (child labour) a priority. Because a child in danger is a child that cannot wait.” Kofi Annan,
Former UN Secretary-General