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Labour plays a vital role in developing a nation. Because it is a matter of dignity. No nation can make progress without labour. For progress, prosperity and rapid development, a nation must regard its labour and work hard with unity.
Though labour plays a vital role in a country, child labour should not be encouraged. Child labour is considered a matter of disgrace for a nation. Children are the future of a nation, if childhood is wasted in manual labour and in shouldering the family needs, they will not be able to lead the nation in future. Often, they become a long-standing burden for the nation. Every child should have the privilege of food, clothing, shelter, education, health care and entertainment. Every society has to ensure these rights to its people.
Bangladesh is one of a developing country in the world. Bangladesh gained its Independence in 1971, still, most of the people live below the poverty line. Even they cannot afford their basic necessities properly. In Bangladesh, the number of family members is larger than in most developed countries. As many families have low income or fewer earners than eating mouths, so they decide to engage their children in various earning activities to supplement the family income. Thus child labour is on the increase. In fact, child labour has become a serious socio-economic problem in Bangladesh.
Children from 8-12 years have to do manual labour. When children are found engaged in different jobs, it provides that society is not doing its duties properly to the children. It is a matter of great sorrow & regret that many of our children have to work hard for their living. As we can see that farmers in the village engage their children in agricultural work. Not only farmers but also all the poverty line people are engaging their children in various earning activities.
In Bangladesh, street children are working almost everywhere. They are even engaged in many risky jobs. By engaging them in different places we are getting some benefits. But we are doing much harm to these children & also to our nation. If they could get the opportunity of education, they might have been the worthy citizens of the country. If a child is engaged in labour, his potential is destroyed. Besides, child labour is inhuman. It is an injustice to the children.
There are certain causes of child labour. Poverty is the root cause. As poor people can hardly maintain their family needs, the education of the children is stopped at an early age and they are forced to do various manual labour to support their family. Low pay is another cause of child labour. Often employers offer low pay for certain jobs.
Child labour is a sad reality of modern & urban and industrial society. It is a curse to our society, a satire to our development programmes. Children are like flowers. At this age, they are meant to be in school & there will be books & pens in their hands. But the tough and cruel reality force many children to leave school or not to go to school at all. Instead of books & pens, they take up hammer, basket, and handles of a rickshaw or van in their hands, remain unfed, half-clad, & barefooted. Thus, their sad and heart-rending conditions highlight only the distressed condition of the nation. Child labour destroys the sweet period of childhood and faces the children with the stark realities of life.
Whenever children are employed either it is domestic work or factory work, rickshaw pulling or working in a shop or hotel & restaurant. They are abused, untreated, low payments & deprived of their due rights by their employer. Children work for longer periods, suffer various mistreatments, work in unhealthy & unfavourable conditions, and what is sorrowful, they are not given wages. Child labour is cheap labour. Many children do the work of the adults, and others do risky and dangerous work, but they do not get any sympathy or love from anybody.
It is not easy to stop child labour in a poor country like Bangladesh. We can improve the condition. Also, we can improve the standard of living of our people. If the income of a family increases, they will not engage their children in labouring. Instead of sending them in work, parents will send them to school. We have to create more job facilities for both male and female in the country if we really want to reduce child labour. The problem of child labour has become a serious socio-economic problem in our country. We can not solve it overnight. But we can at least stop risky child labour. It is the duty of every Citizen to think of our children and build all of our children as useful and worthy citizens of the country. If we can educate all of our children, we can hope to be an educated nation.
Govt and NGOs should work together to root out this evil from society. The poverty alleviation programme must be strengthened and widened. Govt’s social security network should also be extended. Strict laws should be enacted and enforced against employing children in manual work. Govt must ensure that children do not drop out of school and get the rights of education. The rich and capable persons of society may also come forward in this regard.
Children’s work should never be desired in society. Bangladesh is conforming to UNICEF’s” say yes to children” programme which includes 15 things for the children. We must try to maintain and ensure a peaceful, carefree, and secure world for our children.
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