Nabeeha Haq: World Day Against Child Labour 2020; Voices of DCI Youth Leader

According to research conducted by the Overseas Development Institute, children in Dhaka slums as young as 6 years old are employed full time, earning less than $2 a day. These children work with toxic industrial chemicals, exposing their young, developing bodies to asbestos, bitumen, and heavy metals like chromium. The health-related side effects of these working conditions are immense. Many laborers experience growth deficits, hormonal imbalances, and permanently damaging physical injuries. Child labor robs children of the livelihood of their youth, prompting them to mature and harden to deal with the difficulty of their living conditions. It is essentially a sentence to a lifetime of poverty.
It is difficult to break the cycle of child labor. Many parents depend on the minimal income their children make to sustain the household. As a result, these young individuals are prevented from pursuing an education. They are barred from ever transcending the strong grasp of poverty. The continuation of child labor in South Asian countries like Bangladesh is facilitated by the existence of the concept as a social norm, as well as a lack of public welfare infrastructure, and poverty mitigation strategies. This must be fixed.
As Malala Yousafzai eloquently stated, education is the best weapon through which we can fight poverty. If these helpless children are educated, they will be able to help themselves, their families, and their country move towards a brighter future. We, as young Bangladeshi individuals who have been given the opportunity to prioritize our education over everything, have a duty to give back. We have never had to worry about our health and wellbeing growing up. We have never had to wonder when our next meal will be. Let’s speak up and raise awareness of the prevalence of child labor in Bangladesh. We cannot stop until the burden of every child is alleviated. Let’s work together to push for a better future for these youth. I humbly urge you to support DCI’s mission to provide educational programs for these bright and capable children. End child labor today for a stronger nation tomorrow.

Nabeeha Haq
Youth Leader, Distressed Children & Infants International (DCI)

Nabeeha Haq is a volunteer from Massachusetts. She is a rising junior at Brandeis University, double majoring in Public Health and Biology. She has a passion for working with children, and is drawn to DCI’s mission to empower, educate, and provide care to the youth of Bangladesh and their families.
Nabeeha Haq