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From Playgrounds to Workplaces: The Vanishing Childhood in Kabul

Most often, children start working because their father is ill or does not have a job.

by TNN Editor - 04 Aug, 2023 1510

Noor Zia

Yesterday, while going to Bazaar in Kabul, I rarely saw kids playing outside. Neither did I see kids going to school. The moment I entered Bazaar, the presence of small kids surprised me. There were a lot of kids selling one thing and another.

And the saddest part was that they were not in the shop or sitting somewhere; rather, they were holding all the stuff in their hands and some on their heads. Their clothes were torn, and some were barefoot.

Kabul is a place where the hot weather is not terrible, but one also can't stay under the sun for a second because, being located at a latitude relatively close to the equator, it receives more direct sunlight throughout the year. This results in extremely hot sunrays directly hitting the earth, and if someone is standing in front of it, then their head. I agree with the fact that in every developing and undeveloped country, children do work, but I am talking about the ratio. In Afghanistan, 98% of kids are deprived of their basic rights due to child labor.

Also Read: KP Government Addresses Code of Conduct for Political Gatherings

Child labor means any work that deprives children of their childhood enjoyment, education, and most importantly, growth. It is socially, morally, and religiously harmful to them. Its ratio is very high in undeveloped and developing countries. For instance, Afghanistan, Somalia, North Korea, Pakistan, etc. The more child labor there is, the worse the situation in the country will be. Because it gives birth to various social, moral, and religious problems.

There are various causes that result in child labor. Poverty is the root cause of it. Most often, children start working because their father is ill or does not have a job. When the Taliban took control of the country, most of the employees lost their jobs. Nothing to eat or wear at home compelled kids to start working even at the age of seven or eight. Another thing that leads to child labor is not having parents. Children whose parents are dead and have been brought up by relatives are very sensitive. So, in order to be independent, they start working at a very early age. In Afghanistan, the ratio of orphans is very high. It is also the cause of child labor.

Moreover, Child labor has various bad impacts: it leads to extreme bodily and mental harm and even death; being engaged in laborious work, they face both physical and mental health issues due to long hours of working. It can also lead to slavery: children who start working at an early age become blind followers. They do what their masters say without acknowledging their rights, even when they grow up. Further, child labor results in sexual and economic exploitation; in most cases, child laborers are used for different illegal sexual purposes.

Also, it results in stunted growth and gives rise to the cycle of poverty: working at a very young age hinders cognitive, emotional, and mental development and encourages the cycle of poverty. Being uneducated, they always do work that is more laborious and results in no money. These children have neither a sense of self-respect nor of others. Besides, sometimes they fall into the hands of dangerous people. Who then use them for various horrible purposes. And after achieving their aims, they kill those little children.

Different remedies can be used in order to reduce the rate of child labor in Afghanistan. The government is the first and most important part that can control it by introducing good policies. They should fulfill the basic needs of each and every citizen. If they cannot provide toys or higher education, at least they can provide food, clothes, shelter, and medication if they really want. If they didn't, Afghanistan would always face a financial crisis. Besides, society's role is also crucial. Those who have money and use it on unnecessary things should give it to the needy.