ILO’s message is “To Schools, Not To Fields” on World Children’s Day in Şanlıurfa

Children of seasonal agricultural worker families who attended summer education under the Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour in Türkiye launched an exhibition at Şanlıurfa Museum of Archaeology.

News | 23 November 2022
ŞANLIURFA – Under the project “An Integrated Model for the Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labour in Seasonal Agriculture in Hazelnut Harvesting in Türkiye” implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Ministry of Labour and Social Security, an exhibition was launched in Şanlıurfa on November 20 World Children’s Day to draw attention to the importance of combating child labour and children’s right to education.

Opened in Şanlıurfa, the province which sends the highest number of migrating seasonal agricultural workers, the exhibition displays the works produced by the children of seasonal agricultural worker families from Şanlıurfa who received education under the project in the destination provinces while their parents were working in the fields in the harvest season of 2022.

The opening ceremony at Şanlıurfa Museum of Archaeology started with the opening remarks delivered by Ms. Yeliz Mercan, Lieutenant-Governor of Şanlıurfa, and Mr. Numan Özcan, Director of the ILO Office for Türkiye.

Director Özcan said: “Dear children, I met some of you last summer in Ordu, Giresun, Trabzon. There, you were our guests and now here, we come to visit you as your guests. Why have we come here particularly? Maybe you know that today is November 20 World Children’s Day. Thirty-three years ago today, the United Nations dedicated this day to children and adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

Lieutenant-Governor Mercan said: “I express my thanks to the International Labour Organization Office for Türkiye, our National Education Directorate, ISKUR, other stakeholders, our Provincial Directorate of Agriculture who organized this event in the context of November 20 World Children’s Day. Every child, every individual has inalienable rights from birth. Most important among them are the right to live, live appropriate for own development, live by human dignity, right to healthcare, right to education. Such rights are inalienable for every individual since birth, and we as the government are under obligation to take measures so that such rights can be exercised, people can live by their rights, and individuals can look to a stronger future.”

The event continued with the screening of a video featuring ILO’s work combating child labour; and Mr. Sinan Altun who was once a child labourer and graduated from university with support from ILO projects, then became a professional, and is now working to guide children in the region to schools gave a speech, and told seasonal agricultural worker families and their children that “we are by your side”.

The students of Ankara Doku Private School, who engaged in awareness-raising activities in the context of the “Supporting Children’s Rights through Education, the Arts and the Media (SCREAM)” implemented by ILO to promote combating child labour, performed an oratorio on children’s rights at the exhibition. The event concluded with a collective photo-shooting and touring of the exhibition.

At the event, the book LO by Ms. Şermin Yaşar to raise awareness about child labour was presented as gifts to the children. The children toured the exhibition, then the Museum of Archaeology.

About the Project

The International Labour Organization (ILO) undertakes work in close cooperation with ILO’s local implementing partner Piccolo Association and the central and local units of the General Directorate of Labour of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and many local authorities including provincial directorates of the Turkish Employment Agency (ISKUR), Ministry of National Education (MoNE), municipalities, governorships and district governorships. In that context, under the project “An Integrated Model for the Elimination of Worst Forms of Child Labour in Seasonal Agriculture in Hazelnut Harvesting in Türkiye” funded by the Association of Chocolate, Biscuit and Confectionery Industries of Europe (CAOBISCO), teachers and field staff of Piccolo Association engaged in various work in the 2022 summer harvesting season in the five project provinces of Ordu, Samsun, Giresun, Düzce and Sakarya in the Black Sea Region to ensure that children who arrived from Şanlıurfa and lived in the project provinces would continue their education without disruption and be ready for their next academic year upon returning to their hometown Şanlıurfa. Accordingly, 971 families, 76 agriculture intermediaries and 205 orchard owners were reached to inform on the hazards of child labour and the importance of children going to school instead of fields. Further, 1,958 children were prevented from engaging in agricultural labour, and 128 teachers delivered educational services.

About ILO’s Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour in Türkiye

ILO works to prevent child labour in seasonal agriculture in 21 provinces Türkiye through projects under the Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour in Türkiye to eliminate child labour in seasonal agriculture.

Project activities are executed to support children by formal education as well as socio-cultural activities that will help their physical, social and emotional well-being. Families working in seasonal agriculture are informed on the risks of work performed by children under hazardous and unhealthy circumstances. Orchard owners are also included in information sessions on the legal framework introduced to eliminate child labour. Under the project, families are provided with assistance packages, and children with transport services, food assistance, hygiene and stationery kits. The following were achieved in 2021 and 2022 under the ILO’s Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour:
  • 15,840 children (including 7,623 girls and 8,217 boys) were referred to educational services;
  • The following services were provided to the following number of beneficiaries:
    • Child services to 9,917 children,
    • Child nutritional support to 14,658 children,
    • Stationery assistance to 13,361 children,
    • Clothing assistance to 10,213 children,
    • Hygiene training to 10,341 children, and
    • Socio-cultural activities for 14,726 children.
  • 8,757 families were visited; 7,582 families were provided with counselling services and training; and 2,628 families with food assistance.
  • 582 intermediaries and 649 orchard owners were informed on child labour.