Sunday, February 26, 2012

Couple guilty of trafficking children

Mohamed and his wife Petra were arrested yesterday by the national police cooperation, because of the selling of children in an auction in Mirjapur, India. They are the founders of an employment agency, which the main objective was negotiating children to work in factories, earning money with their pass.
Their employment agency hired children both from India and China. They used to talk to parents in a very difficult economic situation, and say that if their children went with them, they would get good education in order to have better job opportunities in the future. They made parents sign a document and Mohamed told them it was said that their kids would have a better life. Because parents were illiterate they did not understand what was really written in the document and they actually signed it. Then kids went with Mohamed and Petra, and they sold them to factories.
In the factories, children were forced to work too many hours a day in very poor conditions, doing very hard tasks and receiving very low salaries. Sometimes they only got a bowl of food during a whole day. They were kept working with threats to death if they tried to escape.
"They used to hit us if we have done something wrong. We are only kids, we cannot do everything perfect. Nobody does.", said one of the children when asked about the life in a factory. "It was not a school at all.", another one accomplished.
As child labour is prohibited in India and in China some people have joined together and created a foundation against this kind of human rights violation. It is called "Children are not slaves!" and has done a lot of progress recognizing children's rights by the government and making it take action in these situations by punishing people. The members of this association are currently organizing an operation to alert the most number of parents as they can so that in the future the number of children trafficked will diminish.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Education for better health

It's a human right for everybody to have education for free, at least basic school, so governments have a duty to ensure that every child is able to realize this right to receive a free basic education. We can find the highest attendance of primary school in four continents such as Europa, America, Asia and Oceania, but in some countries of Africa there are still kids uneducated. Even though school is free, they cannot attend it because they are poor kids and have to work to get money to help their families to survive, or because they are orphans and they don't have nobody to tell them to go to school or they are children with disabilities. Another reason is the fact that some schools are way too far from some children's homes and the walk to school can be unsafe and very dangerous, specially for girls. Also they cannot attend school because they are forced to leave their homes to fight in war. 
Why is it so important to kids in poor countries to attend school? Well firstly, educating children helps reduce poverty. Not only reducing poverty but also diseases. How? In school children learn basic skills like reading and writing. With these skills they develop others and get more confidence. As a result they will have a better life, because they can find a better job to support their families. Countries where more people go to school and become literate are able to grow their economies more quickly and become less poor.
School gives to the little kids a safe environment and support. In school kids can socialize and make new friends which can be a way to escape of the daily problems they have at home.
Education improves children's health because at school children may receive vaccines and medical assistance, fresh water and nutrient food. Besides, there children can learn how to prevent/avoid diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria. A study found that AIDS spreads twice as fast among uneducated girls as it did among girls who were educated.
There are some organizations which the main aim is education for every child around the world. One of them is UNICEF (stands for the Universal Nations Children's Education Fund) and its goal is to ensure that by 2015 all children in the world have access to primary school and actually complete it. That hasn't been an easy task once there are still 93 million children who don't attend school. More than 95% of these children live in developing countries and the majority are girls. Another 150 million children will drop out before they finish primary school.
In my opinion richer countries should give extra aid to poorer countries to help them improving their school systems, building  more schools in more places so children don't have to travel too far to get courses, plus there should be a higher number of teachers with experience and training to avoid one teacher for a huge number of students. It is especially important that many of these teachers are women because hiring more women teachers can help increase the numbers of girls that go to school, and that can help make sure girls and boys are treated equally in the classroom.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Who is Emmanuel Jal?

Emmanuel Jal is nowadays a hip hop star who sings about what happened to him. He was born in Sudan and at the age of seven his mother was killed by soldiers. Then he decided to be one of the ten thousand children who went to Ethiopia because they had been told they would be educated there. But it was a totally lie and they were forced to fight in Second Sudanese Civil War.
Fortunately he was very lucky and he survived, but many of the children who were fighting along him did not. After the war he went to school in Kenya and he started a completely different life. Then he went to America to tell his story to the world through the messages conveyed in his music. 
"Music is powerful. It is the only thing that can speak into your mind, your heart and your soul without your permission," he says. He feels the responsability to help kids who fight in war because he was once one of them. Approximately 250,000 children under the age of 18 are thought to be fighting in conflits around the world. 
His album "WARchild" was the first lauched in America and it describes war and his desire of changing mentalities, specially the clear message that children have no place in wars.
He also participes in several campaigns of non-profit African's organizations, besides he has found a charity named Gua Africa. "Gua" means "peace" in Sudan's language. That organization is dedicated to educating children affected by war and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.