Caught behind but not out!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The petit problems of the world

I look at the skies and imagine that the world is a beautiful place to live in. I enjoy the view I get of the stars, my morning coffee and the ability to read and understand the world around me. I do not have real problems. A fairly bold statement I think that rests on how one defines real problems. I think it is fair to say that I live an extraordinarily happy life compared to many millions who don't. I'm not sure if these are blessings or luck but perhaps a mere game of probability where the dice was rolled and landed on the side with two sixes.

I think hard, the questions turn up in millions, answers, a few. An important reason why a lot of people fail to maintain a decent standard of living is because of two main reasons- access and opportunity. For most part due to biased sympathies towards child labour this article will deal with opinions that surround this issue. Here are links to two articles that I have read which have prompted this piece.

Child labour in the South Indian matchstick industry (link)

Child labour in coal mines in Congo (link)

Of course, its easy to say that you have heard of these issues before but I think its important we constantly remind ourselves of the harsh realities of the world. I don't think they are issues to be pitied upon on one occasion and end up drawing the curtains on them.

It is interesting that the problems are more or less the same in different parts of the world and the reasons are also somewhat similair. Again access and opportunity are staggering blocks to development.

The road to change has also been a standard route taken. It involves freeing children by legal means or by convincing parents about its dangers. Unfortunately these solutions lack foresight. Most of these children are back to square one after a while. The real solution involves solving the two main problems I have stated earlier which are unfortunately not trivial problems with straightforward solutions. So in some sense we are stuck in a vicious cycle where the solution is of utopian scales.

The skeptical reader would wonder if I have provided solutions but the goal of this article was never to provide solutions but to ask the same 'boring' questions. What do we do?

I strongly urge you to take a look at these links to understand the kind of problems that many children in the world face and some steps towards healing them.

Protecting children's rights (link)


  • oppression: denial of access and opportunity to a group for one's gain.

    awareness, responsibilty: from consumers to deliberately avoid product that benefits people employing child labour. But what can we do to benefit these kids: buy rugs, so the employer can pay him and he can get access and opportunity?

    By Anonymous SG, at 6:49 AM  

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