LAHORE: As many as 28 out-of-school children were enrolled on Monday to kick start the second phase of a campaign to end child labour at brick kilns.
They were enrolled at the Government Primary School Tipa Samad, Multan Road, which is within a two-kilometre radius of the kiln where they live. The Labour Department has carried out a survey and identified 3,190 out-of- school children in Lahore school.
“Nearly 90 per cent kilns in the Punjab have been registered during the survey,” Javed Gill, the programme project director, said. “The exercise is part of a larger project for elimination of bonded labour at kilns.”
Gill said the survey had been carried out during monsoon season when kilns were not operational. “The department might have missed some children. It is important that we carry out the survey again in another six months to cover all children,” he said.
The government registered 6,090 brick kilns across the province under the survey. He said the government had faced some problems while enrolling children in Nankana Sahib a few weeks ago.
“The environment at school is different from the one children are used to at home,” he said.
He said the children had been enrolled at schools with help from various government departments and non-governmental welfare schools.
“I feel that for the first time we are actually resolving the issue of child labour at kilns,” Labour and Human Resource Minister Raja Ashfaq Sarwar said at the ceremony.
“Child labour has damaged Pakistan’s image in the international community. I would like to ask everyone to work with us to improve the situation. No patriotic Pakistani likes such an image of the country,” he said.
The minister presented schoolbags and books to the 28 children. Uniforms, bags and books would be provided to all the children being enrolled at schools, he added.
The project, launched in June, aims to enroll children between four and 14 years of age at formal schools.
Several government officials and labour leaders, including Khurshid Ahmed from the All Pakistan WAPDA Hyrdo Electric Union and Chaudhary Nasim Iqbal from the Pakistan Workers’ Federation, attended the Monday’s ceremony.
Parents of the children praised the initiative.
Afiya Bibi, who works at a kiln near Manga Mandi, said she has five children. “They were previously going to a non-formal school set up at the kiln. The quality of education there was not good. I hope the new school will have better facilities,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2015.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ