PARWAZ (Flight) Project
Parwaz has provided an opportunity for the children stuck in child labour. The joint efforts of Fondazione Cariello Corbino and SUPPORT CHILDREN has aimed to rehabilitate these children into formal education by providing them with informal education opportunities first and finally enabling them to enroll in formal educational institutes. We achieve this by creating a comfortable and safe transition for the children into a homely class room environment and giving them a basic education. Our teachers and coordinator work tirelessly for the children. We also created a compliance with the family by providing monthly Ration packets against the income of the child. This ensures that the family dynamic is able to prevent further poverty and in addition allows the child to be safely educated away from their place of labour.
Child Labour in Pakistan
Mughlabad, it is a small slum area in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. This region is very impoverished and has known drug problems which makes the children highly vulnerable to child labour and abuse.
Child labour has been one of the most challenging issues in Pakistan. Child labour is not only hard and physically daunting but anything that aims to keep children out of school can be considered child labour in Pakistan according to the Punjab Compulsory Education Act 1994.
Roughly 10-15 percent of the work force in Pakistan is based on Children. These children work in factories, road side restaurants, in homes and hazardous industries. The main reason why these children are forced into labour is because of families and the pressure to keep them fed. An average joint family has about 9-12 family members. According to estimates from the Asian Development bank there is about 24% population living below the poverty line in Pakistan. Both these factors join in to make the child work from an early age, the children work as early as 4-5 years old. Moreover business owners present the harsh reality that this labour is cheap and such owners do not complain much against the working conditions. Such a ‘business model’ is regularly replicated. The Children are placed in these often violent conditions where they are vulnerable to abuse and are targeted.
The laws are present but are ignored, such as the Compulsory Education Act, more over the Factories Act 1934 section 50, prohibits any the employment of any child under the age of 14. The implementation of these laws is questionable. Some children are found to be working at roadside restaurants as waiters, cleaners and dishwashers, these small businesses save money by hiring these children who are directed by their families to work and earn for the household. Many of the Children work as debt slaves in industries where, the parents take loans against the child’s name and the factory owner becomes the ‘owner’ of the child; with this being most common in factories and industries. Some work as help in the homes of people, where the boys do the ‘odd jobs’ and girls either do the household work or are taken as caretakers of the newborn in the home. These children are subjected to emotional, mental and physical abuse by their bosses as there is no one to question them.
Phase 1 PARWAZ
8 Children successfully moved away from child labour to informal and now formal education in Phase 1 of PARWAZ.
Aman, Ayan, Eram, Mark, Mozies, Saim, Mehak, Maqadas.
Name: Maqadas Amir
Age: 6 years
Maqadas is a very shy and quite girl. We spent a little time with her to know her journey. Imagine a girl just 5 years old travelling with her mother assisting her as a maid in different houses during the day. She would go with her mother and look after the family’s children. Maqadas’ mother remarried and this has given rise to new issues in muqadas’ life.
- What did you do before coming here?
‘I used to go with my mother to some homes, help her clean up and play with the children there.‘
- What do you do now?
‘Help my grandmother with household work and dusting the house is my favorite part.‘
- What do you do when you leave the facility?
‘I go home, eat food with my mother, and sleep. I wake up in the evening and watch TV and play games with my street friends.’
- What do you like about this school?
‘I love writing, painting and making cards. Most of all I love coming here so I don’t have to work with my mother. The children at the other home were mean to me. Here everyone is my friend.’
- What do you want to become when you grow up?
‘I want to become a doctor and help people.’