Children Describe the Two Sides of Working
The “It’s Time to Talk! – Children’s Views on Children’s Work” campaign offered working children from all over the world the possibility to express their feelings about their work.
Working can have both positive as well as negative aspects for children. They can acquire valuable skills that can help them later in life but at the same time they are confronted with numerous risks. Using the participation tool “Body Mapping” the children illustrated their likes and dislikes about child work. They drew their body and assigned their feelings to the fitting body part. In the following the most common answers are illustrated:
|Learning new skills||Experiencing violence|
|Good working conditions, especially respectful communication||Being negatively judged|
|Feeling proud and responsible||Work that is too difficult or carries too much responsibility|
|Being praised and appreciated||Feeling sad and isolated|
|Earning an income||Experiencing harm, injury and accidents|
|Helping and spending time with family|
|Negative impact on studies/education|
|Experiencing support, solidarity and protection||Fatigue|
|Seeing and playing with friends||Frustrations relating to their work efforts and the way they are treated|
Positive Aspects of Working
Working offers the opportunity for children to acquire skills that can be useful later in their life. Among other things, these skills can include how to:
- run a household
- organise themselves
- solve problems
Beside these soft skills children develop abilities that can help get a better paid job. They gain experience in agriculture, construction, business, carpentry, fishing, sewing and tailoring, using a computer and other areas. This can help them in applying for a stable job in the future.
We feel good learning to do tasks well that will serve us in the future.
– 10 to 14-year-old girls from Guatemala
Risks for Working Children
During the “It’s Time to Talk!” – consultations the most frequently mentioned risk for working children are health problems. For example, agricultural tasks can cause getting in touch with dangerous chemicals or pesticides which can cause allergies or skin diseases. Working in carpentry, brick and stone making, construction, mining, street or bus cleaning or waste collection can entail breathing in dust and smoke which in turn can lead to eye irritations or lung problems. A lot of the time working children do not have enough to eat and due to the hunger they eat leftover or rotten food they find in the streets. This increases the risk of various stomach problems. Furthermore working outside either in the hot summer or the cold, wet winter can lead to colds, fever and pneumonia.
The sometimes physically challenging work can cause sore bodies, headaches and injured limbs. These risks increase depending on the field of work. When children have to lift heavy things, work bending down, in mines for example, walk long distances or stand for long periods, the chance of hurting their bodies is very high.
You Want to Know More?
The detailed findings of the consultations including statistics and information about regional differences can be found in the main report and summed up in the child-friendly version. If you are interested in the methodology of the study, the tool kit that was used is available for download.