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Archive for September, 2010

Yemen’s Child Laborers

Several weeks ago, I was in a cab when a rush of black tinted SUVs approached, signaling us to make way. I rolled down my window and yelled, “You don’t own the street! What’s going on?” It turned out the president was inside one of the SUVs. “If only he could spend just as much resources on his people, as he does on himself,” I said to the cab driver, as I rolled up my window. “If only” he replied as he too rolled up his window to avoid the upcoming mob of child beggars we were to meet at the end of the street.

The influx of child laborers is palpable, as they begin to deluge Yemen’s busy intersections and checkpoints. Child labor has become more of an emerging concern as poverty and lack of education continue to grow. One may argue that child labor will never be eradicated so as long as poverty subsists, this however is a myth. Conversely, without the implementation of education in the lives of children and redirection of child laborers towards schools rather than the busy streets and Suqs of Yemen, POVERTY WILL NEVER BE ERADICATED. Child labor perpetuates poverty (ICCLE).* With the absence of education, comes the inability to develop as an individual, consequently leaving no room for societal progression.

This is something that has unfortunately become embedded in Yemeni Culture. On a wider scale you’ll find the government overlooking its people by neglecting the nation’s infrastructure and individual development. This problem runs deep into the homes of Yemen’s populace. Individual development is no longer a priority or concern. Rather, you’ll find that short-term solutions, like removing your child from school to make a living, would instead suffice. This has proven to be counter- productive to the country’s development as a whole. With weakened state institutes, you’ll come across limited support and resources in the academic arena.

Without reforming our short-term policies that relieve no one but those who pass them, we are rendering our children incapable of producing stabilized futures for themselves and our nation as a whole. With this, we leave our nation predisposed not only to economic instability, but political and social instability as well. For the sake of our future posterity, let us speak up and recognize that a great injustice is in action. Let us speak up before it’s too late.