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Insight – Child Labour

As I looked at the six boys all over the cars at the auto mechanic’s workshop, with their sun-bathed bodies and clothes as greasy as the car parts they handled, I couldn’t help but wonder.

Who could they be? Apprentices? Mechanic’s sons? What are they doing here during school hour?

As these questions popped up nonstop, the oldest among them 16, or thereabout, walked up to me wearing a charming ‘happy’ smile. He welcomed me and asked what was wrong with my car.

I couldn’t tell him because I felt he was too young for the job. But when other customers drove in and abandoned their cars to them to repair without a bother, I yielded reluctantly.

“I have an issue with my brake pad. Are you sure you can carry out a check to fix it?” I approached the busy sixteen-year-old.

“We can sir!” He said and before I could say any more word the youngest, a boy not more than 8. dropped tools by my car and got to work.

I declined.

This infant of a boy isn’t going to fix my car. He’s way too young. I hate child labour.

“Please send someone stronger to do this. You want this little boy’s hand to break?” I said to the oldest boy and he assured me the little boy could handle it.

“I’ll carry out checks when he’s done with removing the tire,” he said.

I calmed down and looked on with only two words on my mind – Child Labour

It’s unfair.

It’s unfair.

This is being hard on a poor little boy.

I’m definitely going to find out who his parents are and why they could pay for him to learn a hard skill and not pay his school fees.

Then came the owner of the workshop.

“Hello, sir. Welcome to my workshop. Have you been here for long? Gone to do one or two things inside the town? Welcome.”.

‘Thanks.” I said hating his guts.

“I hope your car is in good hands, ”

“I hope so,” I said observing the little boy. “Are all these your kids?

“Five of them are.” He said as he bent to watch the little boy.

“This is my nephew. He’s staying with us for a while.”

“Really?”

“Yes. He’s a good boy. Hardworking too.”

“Hmm. No school today?” I asked

“They’re on mid-term break.”

I breathed the cool breath of relief and nodded happily.

“But he’s very young for this kind of work sir. To be frank, it’s not good for him. His bones are still too fragile for this kind of work. I’m afraid he might get hurt.” I said choosing my words carefully, taming my emotions.

“No one is forcing anyone to work around here. They all beg me to give them a chance to work. They love what they do here. You see him working hard at that? If you tell him to stop, you will be ruining his day.”

‘Really?’

‘Yes. That’s how he gets his fun. It sounds ironic but that’s just it.’

“This isn’t child Labour right?” I said and he laughed.

“Where did you get that?” he laughed again.

“Definitely no! 1. He is happy doing it. 2. He goes to school 3. I’m not forcing it on him 4. No danger involved.”

“You think there is no danger attached?” I asked judging.

“Many customers feel the same way. They said I shouldn’t bring them here. But I think they’re learning, even though it’s not a must for them.” He said.

“Watch me.” He took the tools from the boy and asked him to take a rest and the little boy whined the judges out of me.”

“I never get the chance to finish anything around here,” he grumbled.

I nodded.

“He enjoys it! Wow! I’m impressed!”

“Now that’s what I mean.”

This isn’t a pure case of child labour but still child labour.

With this on my mind I said to him; “Please don’t expose them too much to this work especially the tender one, please, ” he nodded.

“I’ll try my best sir. Thanks for coming.”

I watched from my side mirror as the seven of them waved their hands. Probably happy they were able to fix my car.

~~~~~

What does child labour mean to you? And do you think the kids in the story above are exposed to such? Please share your opinion.

💙

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11 thoughts on “Insight – Child Labour Leave a comment

  1. Country like China,INDIA who have the title of population explosion country , facing the same problem as in your above said case …. but….. how we can save them to do child labour in a factory, shop or in a house .
    In one of my experience when I was doing my Graduation,I went to a hotel for lunch and there I saw 2 boys were washing the used utensils.First of all “I ask the owner why you are admitting them in such a small age” and “owner said to me that their parents allowed them to do a job in my hotel” and went away to deal with the customers.
    After that I went to those boys and told them not to do and go to school then those two boys” said to me “My father have less paying job and my mother doesn’t have any kind of job to do ,So we fulfill our needs in very difficult situation, So how can I dreamt off to go to school.
    and
    he say few words to me that why you are asking all of this , “Are you going to help me “?and at that time I shut my mouth and I don’t have any word to answer his question because at that time I also depend on my family money how can I help them.
    Then
    Again one of them ask me “Are you going to help me to admit in the school,then again I don’t have words to answered him……….
    So please Answer me,” How can I answered both of them”?
    or
    what answer should gave to them ?
    what should i have to do at that time ?
    Please guide me some Suggestions………..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Manjeet for sharing your experience on Fiez. I’m greatly touched by your story and to be honest with you there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop them because first of all you’re still dependent and there is no way, you can support them. But you can expose them to the government or a philanthropist who can be able to take care of their education and every other need.

      I will say that this kind of child labour is induced by financial inadequacy or poverty and as you have rightly said its always the case in overpopulated countries, some under-developed or even developing countries. Child labour is no big deal in these countries because it’s common and never an eyesore. For them, it’s normal for a child to do any kind of work as long as he or she can handle it. And to them, because the financial situation is too poor, feeding becomes the most essential need and once a child has eaten a square meal or two, that’s all. Permit me to make a post on your comment to get different opinions. Make sure you check it out. Thank you.

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  2. There is much child labour, sadly, and much of it is hidden. Thank you for questioning the mechanic as to why he had the boys working there. We all need to work together to watch out for children who may be being exploited.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sally💕. Yes, we need to join hands to save the children from child labour. It’s harder though to control in the least developed world where poverty is the trigger.

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  3. Good one Florence. No easy answers in life. In this case it seems ok. How one wishes every child was happy and cared for.
    For years my father supported education of children in our vicinity. I do the same.
    Peace unto all 🙏

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  4. Perhaps their condition is not entirely that of child labor. Perhaps their freewill was involved. However, I think, by encouraging them to work in that fashion, especially for the 8-year-old, he is robbing them off a vital moment of their childhood. Kids should be kids. Yes they should impress the idea of responsibility in them in their formative years but not at the expense of their freedom.

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