World Day Against Child Labour

Jordanian youth highlight plight of working children through artistic performances

The performances were part of an event marking this year’s World Day Against Child Labour.

News | 13 June 2019
Amman, Jordan (ILO News) Jordan marked World Day Against Child Labour in Amman on Tuesday (Wednesday 12) with artistic performances by youth groups, which aimed to shed light on the issue of child labour in the country.

The event, organised by the ILO, in collaboration with the grass-root community-based organisation, Ruwwad Al-Tanmeya, Jordan’s Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Social Development, included a pantomime, depicting fears and challenges faced by youth who have experienced child labour. The youth performers are presently receiving rehabilitative services through the ILO project MAP16, which works to measure, raise awareness, and engage in policy change on the issue of child labour. 

Other performances included a song about this year’s World Day Against Child Labour theme “Children Should Work on their Dreams, not in the Fields!” - written, composed and performed by youth volunteers who had received training on SCREAM, an ILO programme that aims to promote awareness among young people about children’s rights, with a focus on child labour, so that they in turn can speak out and mobilise their communities to act. 

The event was also an opportunity to launch a social initiative providing needed services to working children; half of whom are Syrian refugees. These include educational, psychosocial counselling and recreational support for the children; as well as livelihood and counselling services for their families. The children were identified through the electronic child labour monitoring system (E-CLMS) that links the three ministries of labour, education and social development together with Ruwwad Al-Tanmeya. Ruwwad Al-Tanmeya is the first grass-root community-based organisation linked to the referral system that reflects the National Framework on Child Labour adopted by the Government of Jordan in 2011.

“June 12 sheds light on working children who are deprived of their fundamental rights to a childhood and to an education,” said Nihayat Dabdoub, ILO National Programme Officer and the organiser of the event. “Child Labour deprives children of education at an early age in their lives and forces them to engage in work which is not suitable for their age, development and well-being.”

At the event, success stories of former working children who received comprehensive rehabilitative services were presented. One of them was a former homebound girl who had received educational, psychosocial, vocational, and recreational rehabilitative support, allowing her to be the first university accepted student, who after getting the equivalency to the 10th grade of formal education from the Ministry of Education, managed to successfully pass the compulsory high school exam (Tawjihi) through home schooling and accomplished with distinction her first year of university studies in social studies.

The event was attended by representatives from the government, as well as local non-governmental and community-based organisations, employers, trade unions, and other United Nations and international non-governmental agencies active in the fight against child labour in Jordan. It was hosted at the International Academy- Amman as part of their social programmes.

According to the 2016 National Child Labour Survey, an estimated 75,982 children, or around 1.9 per cent of children aged between of 5 and 17 years, are engaged in either paid or unpaid employment. Of these, almost 70,000 are estimated to be in a situation of child labour. The vast majority of working children are boys who work in agriculture, manufacturing, construction, and wholesale and retail trade. A total of 32 per cent of child labourers are employed in hazardous work, which is work considered either harmful to children’s health or which may negatively impact their development.