Who to wipe tears out of faces of children wiping dirt out
This is a big question mark for all of us as to who will wipe tears out of faces of children wiping dirt out of car screens, rag picking and through other hazardous works at the cost of their childhood? Number of such children is increasing day by day at traffic signals and in the streets.
Children from poverty stricken communities run to cars approaching traffic signals and try to take lead to wipe windscreens of cars. INFN observed that number of children rushing towards a car now reaches from one-two to three-four, 60-70% rise.
Ragpicking is another worst form of child labor and hundreds of children are working as ragpickers in twin cities, while they may be in hundreds of thousands in the country. We need to realize that child labor seriously jeopardizes children's prospects for a better future. We are committed to Article 32 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) that says: "State Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development".
“Working children need to be protected as our children and their rights and dignity should be respected. Unfortunately, some people pass on ruthless comments and remarks and reportedly abuse them as well. These children wipe dirt out of our car screens but we need to wipe tears out of their innocent faces,” said Ms Shaista Malik, JDHR’s coordinator working for protection of the rights of the working children in Pakistan.
INFN observed that while rushing toward cars stopping at signal, these kids are some times badly treated when ask them not to touch their cars’ windscreens. Sometimes they clean screens but they are paid a single penny as cars go as signals turn green.
“My father is a labourer and he can’t manage all expenses of the family so I have to work to help him,” said Farhan, 6, who was standing at a signal near Faizabad. He said he did not go to school as he and his family cannot afford even two meals a day.
Surriya, 10, also does the same job in a group with her fellow girls, said she is new in this field and she don’t know how to take money from motorists. “Whenever I ask for some rupees after wiping the screen of any motor, driver abuses me and say that he didn’t ask her to clean,” she narrated with innocence.
Childhood is considered as an age of growth in which children learn to live in society. But the case is reverse with these innocent souls who are experiencing strange reality. Psychiatrists say that childhood leaves a lifetime impact on the personality and it moulds the human nature in right or wrong direction.
“Children who are working in the streets are treated in a brutal way and they could become criminals in their future in a bid to take revenge from the society. So they should be saved from such brutal child labour” Shagufta Kiani, a professor of psychology and a human rights activist said. “For reducing the curse of child labour, we have to end poverty first which is a key factor behind it” she added.