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We Rise Against Child Labour

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Child labour is one of the most pressing issues Right To Play works on. It sits at the intersection of poverty, diminished expectations, and systemic failures that come together to limit children’s futures and endanger their lives.

There are an estimated 152 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 that are believed to be involved in child labour. 72 million of these children are working in hazardous conditions. Children who are out of school due to COVID-19 face an even greater risk of child labour than others.

Help Them Rise

No child should be pulled out of school to be subjected to dangerous work.

Sign this resignation letter to state that you stand against child labour.

The magnitude of child labour depends on location, though it is most prevalent in African countries. Ghana is one of the world’s major producers of cocoa – the main ingredient in chocolate. About one in every five children in Ghana are out of school and working, with the vast majority working in agriculture, especially on cocoa farms. That’s 1.9 million Ghanaian children who are being denied their childhoods and their futures.

The conditions they suffer are a modern-day form of slavery. Children from age 8 and up work long hours in unsafe conditions, using machetes to chop down cocoa pods for processing. They are beaten if they do not collect enough cocoa, and many are paid little to nothing or have their wages stolen by employers or adult labourers.

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Preventing Children From Engaging in Child Labour

Our work with children focuses on improving individual and systemic aspects of the problem. We work with child rights clubs to educate adults about the dangers of agricultural work for children, teaching parents how to budget their resources. We also build systems at the district level to reduce the need for child labour and to report individuals who are disobeying the law by exploiting children.

Right To Play’s Jam Suka programme in Mali, active since 2016, is designed to support children in need of protection, particularly girls and those exposed to dangerous forms of work. Jam Suka is a Peulh (a local Malian language) word meaning ‘well-being of the child’.

Through its operations in over 200 villages, the Jam Suka programme has enhanced the protection and wellbeing of 85,000 of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children, working with over 1,400 teachers and coaches to create child protection clubs.

To date, Jam Suka interventions have been successful in withdrawing 979 children from gold mines in Yanfolia, Mali, enrolling 69 youths in other, safe income-generating activities, offering a further 720 specific support and teaching to prepare their integration into school, and supporting 190 children to be directly enrolled into school.

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In Ghana, we are working with local authorities, the national government, and the Government of Canada to reach nearly 25,000 children, to help put an end to child labour in the country.

Since 2016, we have trained 697 teachers working in remote communities where child labour is particularly prevalent, to help these children return to school.

Completing just their primary education will open up opportunities for them far beyond agricultural labour.

We have formed 121 Community Child Protection Committees that bring children, teachers, parents and local officials together to help enforce Ghana’s laws against child labour locally. These committees offer needed support to desperate parents to figure out ways to avoid sending their children out to work, and offer communities a way to report individuals who break Ghana’s child labour laws.