Uniting to end child labour: Keep the pinwheel moving!

Young people around the world are uniting with creativity, strength and determination to make a stand against child labour. The pinwheel has become the symbol of the fight against child labour, and the movement of the pinwheel itself is the message we want to convey. The five blades of the pinwheel represent the different continents of the world and the wind that makes the pinwheel spin is the will to act and to pass on the message until all countries take adequate measures to end child labour.

The pinwheel campaign began in Brazil, with the National March for the Eradication of Child Labour in 2004. Former working children and adolescents elaborated a Term of Agreement to eradicate child labour which was presented to all Brazilian states and to the Federal District by children who travelled to hand it to the next neighbouring state. The Agreement was signed by the 27 governors and by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who committed to prioritize the eradication of child labour in the country. Throughout the march, the children brandished pinwheels which became the symbol of their campaign.

Now the pinwheel campaign has gone worldwide! It is used at events to raise awareness on child labour all year round and in particular on the World Day Against Child Labour on 12 June. On 12 June 2009, in Geneva, hundreds of children from local schools gathered at the Place des Nations in front of the United Nations building to show their solidarity with other children who have to work instead of going to school. They made pinwheels in the spirit of “pass it on” and they signed a petition calling on all Member States of the United Nations to end child labour.

“By participating in this World Day, we, children in Geneva, symbolically representing all the children of the world, celebrate the 10th anniversary of Convention No. 182 against the worst forms of child labour…
…By our presence today, we demonstrate our support for these children, and we call for equal rights, dignity and respect for everyone - both girls and boys – in all countries.”

Other countries will follow these initiatives, and the pinwheel campaign will travel from state to state and from country to country. Get involved in your country! Be creative! Motivate your school and your community to join you in taking action!

Download the Pinwheel kit to make your own pinwheel and become part of the global campaign to end child labour. Register on the 12 to 12 Community Portal on child labour and share your action with others. Also visit the Taking action and useful resources section of this website for more ideas on how young people can get involved and make a difference.