Microcredit project eyes to check kids’ engagement in risky jobs
15 May 2016, Nirapad News: The government has worked out a plan to introduce a microcredit programme for the parents or guardians who are being compelled to engage their children in hazardous and risky jobs due to poverty.
According to an official document, the plan will be implemented under a project titled, ‘Elimination of child labour engaged in risky jobs in Bangladesh’.
Introducing microcredit for such parents and guardians is a new component under the fourth phase of the project.
As child labour is on the rise, the government is planning to create the alternative employment opportunities for the parents so that they do not have to engage their children in risky jobs.
“With the microcredit, we want the poor parents or guardians to refrain from engaging their children in any risky and hazardous jobs,” a senior official at the Labour and Employment Ministry told UNB.
He said when the parents or guardians will get some extra money, whether it is loan or not, they will feel encouraged to engage their children in alternative jobs for which the government will provide training to the children.
Under the project, the government has a plan to provide informal education and training to 60,000 children across the country to rehabilitate the children involved in risky jobs through their skill development.
The estimated cost for this project has been fixed at Tk 8480.49 lakh and all the money will come from the national exchequer. The Labour and Employment Ministry will implement the project.
Through the previous three projects, the government provided informal education and training to 90,000 child labours from July, 2005 to June, 2014.
Each child has been given 18 months’ informal education and six months’ skill development training on various trades, the document said.
On completion of the training, 18,000 children have been provided with necessary equipment based on their training on different trades.
In Bangladesh, poverty forces families to send children to work, often in hazardous and low-paid odd jobs, such as ship-breaking, brick-chipping, construction and waste picking.
According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef), children are paid less than adults, with many working up to 12 hours a day. Full-time work frequently prevents children from attending school, contributing to dropout rates.
According to the Labour Law of Bangladesh 2006, the minimum legal age for employment is 14. However, 93 percent of child labourers work in the informal sector — in small factories and workshops, on the streets, in home-based businesses and domestic employment – the enforcement of labour laws is virtually impossible.
Long hours, low or no wage, poor food, isolation and hazards in the working environment can severely affect children’s physical and mental health, according to experts.