There are many factors on the basis of which a society stands and flourishes, such as the culture, ethics, norms, values, traditions of that particular society. But when it comes to the sustainability of that foundation along with growth and prosperity, then there is only a single factor which comes into play, that is, the children.
There was once a king who used to conquer nations and destroy them, the one thing he did to fulfill his deed was to enslave the youngest children of that nation and kill the ones in teenage. By doing so he eliminated any chance of transcendence of the culture and values of the nation from one generation to the next and took away the identity of who they are.
In our country there is no such king, but still the evil of child enslaving exists and it is given the fancy name of child labor.
This issue first hit me when I was 10 and was going to the school with my father and I saw a kid exactly my age wearing torn clothes and collecting something from the garbage, I asked my father , “Abu, isn’t he supposed to be at school, why he has bunked school”, and my father said, “ Asad These are poor children, they don’t go to school, you are the lucky one that do”, I asked “Why” and then I got utter silence as an answer from my father.
We see children everywhere working in different roles, somewhere as a motor mechanics assistants, somewhere as waiter on a Dhabba, and many more places, even though we, being the educated class, resent the idea of child labor, we are the key contributors to it, as we never express our negation of child labor in front of the people practicing it, have we ever tried to convince the owner of a child working , to let him go, the answer from most would be NO, Because we in our subconscious minds have accepted this evil as normal, and this is what the basic problem is.
Let’s not get to any conclusion by without seeing the other side of the coin, I was once traveling from “Nawaz Sharif Scheme” to Gulistan e johar, It was my usual route from one tuition to another, I felt hungry and the smell of freshly made Bar B Q compelled me to go to that hawker to my surprise he was a child of 10, I talked to him and asked him whether he studied, and came to know that he studied In a madarsa, where he was taught all the subjects but he did have any tutor to guide him and his parents were uneducated so I told him that he is welcome to come to my home for free tuitions, which he accepted, Initially he only came himself, but with time he brought his friends, who were in similar situations and we had a full fledge class running, but after the time of a month, His elder brother came abusing me and pulled him away from the tuition saying that it is decreasing their earnings as he is giving time to his studies at home, and that story for repeated for every student as well and along with time the class was empty.
So the other issue here is that the family members of these children and not in support of education also, it is easy for us to blame everything on the ruthlessness of the person hiring these children, and on the governments lack of public policy, but difficult to accept the evil within.
Child labor is the cancer which is weakening our bones and we are trembling upon it.
The real questions are how to change the perception of those people towards education, how to eradicate child labor, how to make a child’s future promising?
It’s about time we realize that this issue is not only related to children’s welfare but to the sustainability and growth of our nation as well.
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