Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Working Children and Vague Future

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Working Children and Vague Future

The children’s rights are one of the significant issues in Afghanistan which have been paid little attention. Backbreaking works by children are prohibited in national and international laws. However, there are children who are involved in manual labors and work in carpet industries and brick kilns.
Similar to younger generation and university graduates – who have no appropriate time and suffer from poverty and unemployment – Afghan children also spend hard time. In fact, there are no pleasure, fun, school and knowledge in the life of many Afghan children and their share of childhood world is work, selling on the street and earning bread.  
Scores of Afghan’s working children are those who are supposed to go to school and learn reading, writing and life skills; however, they sell things in the crowded and dusty streets of Kabul, work as metalsmith’s pupils and beg on busy roadsides so as to find morsels of bread for their families and support them rather than going to school or playing with the children of their age.
Such children wrestle with the life vicissitudes and their childhood moments are wasted. In addition to fun and training, children need protection. However, Afghanistan’s labor children are abused, harassed, including physical violence, on streets. Instead of mother’s gentle voice and father’s caring hands, they suffer the sarcasm of passersby, business owners and customers. Very often, employers order and instruct them dos and don’ts with angry and insulting words. 
The consequence of backbreaking work in unhealthy environment, which is full of physical and verbal violence, is unpleasant for children. They will be disappointed as a result of being exposed to injustice and degradation and will lose the opportunity of passing a normal childhood stages. Besides harming the children mentally and emotionally, working in unhealthy environment will destroy the opportunity of developing their talents and abilities. They have to work and deal for hours with the individuals who are not equal with them based on age and logic and live in different world – this will put an ill effect on their souls and minds and will hurt them mentally and emotionally.
On the other hand, the existence of working children reflect class difference in the society. They are part of a society deprived of equal facilities and opportunities. The fruit of the children’s labor will be in favor of their exploiters which will widen the class gap in the society, increase poverty, hamper their access to knowledge and skill and will reduce work force in the society. Meanwhile, this will increase social ills such as drug addiction, crime, exploitation, discrimination and poverty and also jeopardize social health and hamper progress and development in the society.
It is likely that Mafia and other bands will exploit children and pursue their aim through this means since children have no physical and mental power to defend themselves and may fall prey to them. Besides harming the children and destroying their life and future, this will change them into harmful elements in the society and perhaps into dangerous figures or expert members of Mafia.
Children are valuable assets for the future of all societies. We will have a bright future only if we grow up and be trained in appropriate conditions. Those who grow up in violent and unhealthy environment will not be useful asset for the future of a society.
As a result of not having appropriate opportunities for education and schooling, the working children will not be able to learn necessary skills for a better life. Therefore, they will not have equal rights with other citizens and will suffer from class differences – this will change them into outcasts and disillusioned individuals. So, they will resort to illegal works such as smuggling, robbery, etc. rather than useful activities. 
Additionally, the working children of today will be the parents of tomorrow. So, when they grow up in unhealthy environment and pass life with various mental and emotional challenges, they will not be able to bring up their children. Their children will also grow up in unhealthy family environment and will inherit kinds of misfortune and mental and emotional sufferings. Hence, they will step in society with violent and restless morale which may increase social ills and disorders.
The future will be uncertain and ambiguous for the children. They will encounter many challenges in the future as they are wrestling with problems today. In fact, they are the burnt generation of today and our society’s future that need urgent and immediate attention.  
The government will have to adopt serious measures for protecting the children and implement the law on prohibition of children from labor. Similarly, the state should try to eliminate the class difference and provide the citizens with work and social services, for the families will not be compelled to involve their children in backbreaking labor rather than sending them to school.

Mahdi Modabbir is the permanent writer of the Daily Afghanistan. He can be reached at thedailyafghanistan@yahoo.com.

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