"Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to eliminate child labour." So said Dennis Sinyolo, Director of Education International's African Regional Office in Accra, Ghana adapting liberation icon and late South African president Nelson Mandela's famous quote about how education can change the world.
Tara Banjara was four and a half years old when her parents put her to work on the roads, cleaning the garbage and rubble out of potholes to prepare for construction in Nemdi village, Rajasthan, India. She worked in the wind, cold, and rain with her mother, day in and day out, year in and year out. She would return home shattered, too exhausted to eat before falling asleep each night.
Children's voices took centre stage at the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour, which kicked off in Durban, South Africa, on May 15, 2022. Their voices resonated with the saying: "Nothing about us without us."
The Global Estimate on Child Labour estimates 160 million children are in child labour worldwide – an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years – with millions more at risk due to the impacts of COVID-19.
Children washing clothes in rivers, begging on the streets, hawking, walking for kilometres in search of water and firewood, their tiny hands competing with older, experienced hands to pick coffee or tea, or as child soldiers are familiar sights in Africa and Asia.
When it comes to gender equality and development, the Middle East, North Africa (MENA) and the Arab States region continues to be in a paradoxical situation. While within the region, several laws, policies and programming focused on gender equality are growing
, women’s representation in government jobs, corporate roles, and national programming seem to be dismissed. Healthcare, education have seen improvement, most countries have become tech inclusive as well, but access to hospitals and educational institutions –at times due to social programming or gender-related policies continues to prevent women from accessing them and using them.
Conflicts in Northern Ethiopia’s regions of Afar, Amhara and Tigray, have pushed children and adolescents out of school and are fueling humanitarian needs in the region. In response to this crisis, Education Cannot Wait (ECW
) announced today a US$2 million First Emergency Response Grant that will reach more than 20,000 refugee and displaced, as well as host community children and adolescents. This brings ECW ongoing investments in Ethiopia
to over $30 million.
“I first think about my children. They are why we were forced to leave - because our children are always our first concern.”
These are the moving words of Victoria, who fled the brutal war in Ukraine with her two daughters. Her eyes welling up with tears, she recalled their dangerous journey from Ukraine. She and her two school-aged daughters were forced to leave behind everything they have ever known.
This is our third episode on the ongoing movements of people around the world. You can listen to the previous ones, the first about climate migrants
and the second on remittances
, on any podcast app.
Fourteen-year-old Hadiza smiles as she clutches a purple bag in her hands. Inside the cloth bag is a Menstrual Hygiene Management kit, an essential item that gives her dignity and enables her to continue with school even when menstruating.
"I like lettuce, but not tomatoes and cucumbers," said nine-year-old Paulo Henrique da Silva de Jesus, a third grader at the João Baptista Caffaro Municipal School in the southeastern Brazilian city of Itaboraí.
Today, approximately 19 million young women
are accessing post-secondary or tertiary education in India. Yet, such education has not translated into expected gains in female labour force participation. Only 34 percent of women
in India with post-secondary education are active in the labour force, compared to 81 percent of men
It was a long, harrowing road for Freshta and Shabaneh, two mothers (their names are pseudonyms) who fled Kabul, Afghanistan, late last summer before eventually settling in the southern New Jersey township of Hamilton.
The Karnataka court’s verdict to uphold the hijab ban has intensified the protest in the state. The row has been typically perceived by many as manufactured by the politicians pointing to the culture of politics in the state. While the jury is still out there on this, evidence on how state’s local culture constructs and deconstructs religious identity allows drawing conclusions with some definitiveness. The culture of state’s politics is one side of the coin. Considering its flip side – politics of culture, particularly of the religious cultural identity, is just as relevant.
I recently visited Abu Dhabi and my impressions became intermingled with worries about the war in Ukraine. I also happened to read Livy’s The Early History of Rome
, written around the beginning of CE, coming across these lines:
A brutal war now engulfs the young lives of an estimated 7.5 million children in Ukraine. Caught in the crossfire of bullets and missiles as the conflict escalates, children and young people have been plunged into a humanitarian crisis.
Expanding on Education Cannot Wait’s (ECW
) US$5 million Ukraine First Emergency Response
grant announced in March, ECW today announced a new, initial US$1.5 million allocation to support the education in emergencies response for the Ukraine refugee crisis in Moldova while on mission with strategic partners USAID
. This new allocation brings ECW’s total Ukraine crisis education response to US$6.5 million to date. The new grant will be delivered in partnership with the Government of Moldova to ensure refugee children and youth can access safe and protective learning opportunities. Investments will also benefit children in the host communities. The development of the grant will be facilitated through the coordination mechanism established for the education response.
After two years of human devastation, the world is learning to live with COVID-19 while trying to balance the protection of public health and livelihoods.
For countries in Asia and the Pacific, this is challenging not only because national coffers are heavily strained by record public spending to mitigate pandemic suffering, but also due to deeper structural economic issues.
Look around the world at this very moment. Whether we look at it in stark numbers and statistics, whether we look at it as a generational loss of basic human rights, including the right to an education, or whether we look inwardly and feel the unspeakable human suffering and devastation taking place, we all agree: we are at a historically low point in our collective humanity.