Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Care: 100,000 Children in Labor Market…40% Practice Hard Work | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Syrian refugee children collect plastics as they stand along a street in south of Sidon, southern Lebanon June 10, 2014. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

Care Agency has urged on the direct negative effect of the Syrian crisis on the future of Syrian children, as big numbers of them were forced to get involved in work labor. The agency said on the World Day against Child Labor that this phenomenon is still ongoing and increasing in line with the 6th year of the crisis, and that those children live in hard conditions, which lead to their exploitation.

The number of children working in Jordan increased from 30,000 to 100,000 since the beginning of the crisis, whom 40% of them are subjected to dangerous hard work, according to Care, like working in garages and car maintenance workshops. Salam Kanaan, director of Care International in Jordan said that many Syrian children have left schools because they are the only source of survival for their families. Third of Syrian families in Jordan are headed by women who feel obliged to depend on their children in living to avoid inappropriate work conditions.

Kanaan added that Care International has implemented since 2014 the “Money Versus Education” program to ensure the right of Syrian children in education, away from the labor market by returning them back to schools. She noted that the program is based on supporting Syrian families that are severely suffering and on encouraging them to keep their children in schools and avoid their involvement in child labor, early or obligatory marriage, and other negative practices. The Head of Care Jordan pointed that the program started with 100 children in the first year and expanded to embrace 500 in its second, and that the program is approaching its third year with more children.

Kanaan continued that the income of a Syrian child reaches $40 monthly, which is very low. “We started with the conditional funding by allocating $100 per month for each family during the academic year, and bind them to send their child to school. The program fulfilled 100% success until this day, as all kids were committed to school attendance. We intend to expand the program this year to include more children, and we aim to raise the support sum from $100$ to $140 per family, so that families feel more satisfied in fulfilling their needs”, said Salam Kanaan.

On another hand, the Jordanian government has applied, since April, new measures that ease the issuance of work permission for the Syrian refugees to ensure them work opportunities in the Jordanian labor market. According to the UNHCR, these new measures allow around 200 Syrian to fix their legal work status on daily basis.

Care has praised the decision of the Jordanian government, and hoped it will put an end to child labor. Care urged the international community to provide more funds for hosting countries like Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, which need these funds to cope with the burden of the crisis. Salam Kanaan said that without supporting the families of Syrian refugees and the countries that host them, and without stable income and living measures, the number of the working Syrian children will increase, their conditions will worsen, and they will remain without education.

The Jordanian Ministry of Labor stated that the child labor case and its solutions are among its priorities, as it violates children rights, and called to gather the national and international efforts to face the problem.

The statement also pointed to the importance of the employers’ commitment to the ban of recruiting under-age children. It also called the families to be aware of the dangers that surround their children. The ministry added that the latest statistics published by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 2013 showed that working children reached 168 million; 85 million out of them practices the worst kind of labor.