Until recently 13 year old Jerek, like many children in Bin an, Philippines, worked long hours alongside his parents making shoes. The bad lighting, lack of ventilation and use of highly toxic glues were so hazardous to his health that he became ill. It even stunted his growth.
Nory Tobias, Director OHF
First they were given education on the hazards of exposing their children to this type of work, because they work in poorly ventilated rooms, cramped areas, the effects of chemicals in the air…
This year, Jerek joined the Open Heart Foundation, a program in the Philippines that works with the International Labour Organization, training parents about safe working conditions and also providing school supplies to encourage poor families to send their children to school.
After I stopped working, my health improved and I grew! Now, I only help my parents a little in my free time. I am studying hard in school.
Child labour in the footwear industry is not exclusive to the Philippines. In Indonesia a very similar phenomenon exists as well.
According to the new ILO Global Report on child labour among working children globally, nine per cent are employed in the manufacturing industry.
In this bustling city of Bandung Indonesia, it is common to see children working in makeshift shoe factories. Rosadi, 16 spent nearly five years making shoes in hazardous working conditions, after being forced into the trade at the age of eleven.
I experienced some difficulties with my health. I used to feel dizzy and had respiratory infections because of the chemicals in the workshop and no ventilation. I also felt jealous of the other children who went to school.
Through ILO training, Rosadi is now learning about computers and also how to show other children that they can stop working as he did.