What do Working Children Want?
Do WE know what's best for working children?
This sequence of activities will help learners to see work through the eyes of working children.
- Warm-up discussion: groups - 5 works best;
- Individual reading on the web: group members read about different children;
- Group discussion task: pooling information; predicting working children's proposals;
- Back to the Web: comparing their predictions with the working children's charter.
My country; my ideas - warm-up
- Ask learners to talk about jobs & restrictions on jobs for children in their own countries, and to share their views about things like:
age; hours of work; suitable jobs; working conditions; reasons for working...
The children's stories - reading on the web
- Print out the page of quotes (Working children's voices) from Working children tell their stories and give each group a copy. Each learner chooses one of the quotations: this will be the child they read about.
The quotations help to clue learners in to some of the issues they'll talk about later.
- Learners read their child worker's story on the website (Child Labour contents page) and make notes on:
- why the children work;
- working conditions;
- how the children feel about working;
- their present situation;
- their future hopes or prospects.
- Back in groups, learners share their findings and their personal reactions to what they read.
What do working children want? - group discussion task
- Give learners the following information:
- In 1996, there was a conference for working children in India. Child worker delegates from 33 countries attended the conference. They wrote a working children's charter, a document that said what working children themselves want.
- "Our families' survival depends upon us working. The day should come when children need not work. Till then, they should have access to dignified work and good quality but appropriate education, as well as time for leisure."
(Lakshmi Basrur, one of the child worker delegates)
- Groups use this information and their reading to suggest 5 things that they think the child workers would propose in their charter.
The working children's charter - back to the Web
- Learners read the working children's actual proposals (The working children's charter) and compare it with their predictions.
What do they think about the children's demands?
(Optional: those who are interested can read the report of the follow-up Child Labour conference in Amsterdam)
What can we do? - action options
Some learners may wish to follow up on this topic, or even to become actively involved. They can start by checking out some of the links to organisations that deal with child labour, on the Child Labour Contents page.
© Chris Doye 1999
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Last Modified: 18th November 2000