Documenting child domestic helpers and their big dreams

Published: March 21, 2012
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"It is extremely important to lobby legislators in the absence of a law to protect children and ensure that
child labour is seen as a criminal offense," Minallah.  PHOTO: THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

"It is extremely important to lobby legislators in the absence of a law to protect children and ensure that child labour is seen as a criminal offense," Minallah. PHOTO: THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

ISLAMABAD: 

Child labour formed the focus of “I have a dream”, a documentary by Samar Minallah, which was screened at the Polish embassy here on Tuesday.

With not a dry eye in sight when the lights came on, the documentary shed a light on an unspoken issue. Profiled children spoke about their wish to seek an education and work as professionals rather than labourers.

Addressing the guests Minallah said that three girls whose stories were narrated in the documentary are now going to schools. She said that “it is extremely important to lobby legislators in the absence of a law to protect such children and ensure the issue is seen as a criminal offense”.

Minallah said she worked closely with Spark, an NGO working towards this cause. The documentary was completed last November; it took Minallah and her team seven months to complete it. “I knew the problem was there when my own friends started employing children as domestic help,” she said. The documentary has been screened at various universities including LUMS, QAU and AIOU. “It’s very important to educate the youth and make them understand the issue. They are the ones that will institute change for subsequent generations,” she said. The documentary has also been screened for parliamentarians.

Polish Ambassador Andrzej Ananicz said about 60% of Asia is affected by child labour, adding that this is a global issue. “This is the second time Samar has screened her documentary here and it’s amazing to see how she’s been able to portray a sensitive issue in a positive manner,” he said.

“I have a dream” will soon be translated into Urdu and Pushto to be shown at community level.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2012.

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