Child labour is a menace that has stung the world since ages and continues to do so even in these modern times.
Those hands which should otherwise be holding toys, pens and books are forced by varied people and situations to hold tools and work instead.
Such is a story of a boy that I would like to share today.
Ahmed, an 11 year old boy, has been working since last few months in Lahore at a T shirt printing shop.
Belonging to Faisalabad, he moved to Lahore to work on account of his cousins and to procure better monetary gains as Lahore seems to offer good employment opportunities.
For Ahmed, the reason of getting into labour despite of being so young was his family’s dreadful financial condition which was getting worse day by day.
As he was the eldest son, he finally decided to take a step to contribute to make things better. Ahmed moved to this city to earn not his living but his family’s daily bread.
Before moving to Lahore, Ahmed did try his luck in Faisalabad in several professions but in vain. So he decided to migrate to find something better.
Since his aunt was living in Lahore already, he & his family felt that things would go smoothly as they would not have to worry about his abode.
He used to work 12 hours a day and 6 days a week and used to earn 6000 per month.
Only on Sunday, his weekly off, would he get time to play and enjoy with his cousins.
Being a kid living in a different city away from his loved ones, he was also emotionally attached to his family. He telephoned his parents almost everyday, but due to low income these calls would long only a few seconds. Yet he was glad that he could at least hear from them somehow.
One day, while his phone was charging at his aunt’s home, someone unfortunately stole it. The days he spent without mobile phone were his worst as he could not listen his to his family’s voice for several days. Their voices used to soothe him and make him forget all hardships he was facing in his life. A few days later, Ahmed and his cousins had a tiff and this became the turning point.
His aunt kicked him out of her house and he was rendered homeless.
Despite all of this, he decided not to lose hope. He thought his friends who were living in Lahore would help him and they did, too, for a month but after that even his friends apologetically proclaimed that he can’t stay more at their places. And he became homeless once again.
This made him leave his job and come back to his hometown.
Now that he was back, I chanced upon to meet him somehow.
Out of curiosity, I asked him about his education.
He said that when he was 7 years old her, mother admitted him into a school nearby, but on his first day itself he decided he won’t go back again.
When inquired about the reason, he said “On my first day, I saw the teacher beating another student and I was horrified, so I decided to quit and never to go back again to school”.
His story made me think that before educating children we need to educate our educators how to treat kids in schools as thete is a definite difference between jail and classroom.
Children are innocent creatures not criminals who should not be tortured.
They should be nurtured with care and compassion. Although spare the rod and spoil the child does hold truth, using it sparingly and asking the kids to rather reason out and find other less brutal means of punishing them, especially constructive ones would rather prove to be beneficial to both the children and the society.
I believe “education can change” every social issue our nation is facing today.
And the right way to it is go about educating everyone to realize that we are after all only human beings who will err time and again, but simultaneously also have great potentials to rise up again.
Let us join hands to bring about this change, curb child labour and educate with compassion, in order to bring out the best in our future generations!