“Severe stomach appetite, I do not get to eat at home. So doing work in this tea stall. I work here from 7am to until eight o’clock at night. Tea stall owner give me food twice with TK-30 wages per day. With this money buy some food for my sick father.Saru Mian, 8, named a child labor came from Bagmara upazilla said these words who work in a tea stall behind central library at Rajshahi University (RU). His father has been incapable to work due to affected by stomach disease since three years.
Like that Saru Mian more than two hundreds child has been engaged in different tea stall, hall dining-canteen, food corner, photocopier shops and rickshaw-van pulling work in the campus area whose age lies into 12.
Besides, a good number of children work as hawkers who earns a little by selling cigarette, candy, ice-cream and ground-nuts, sources said.
In this way, the number of chaild labor is on the rise in the Rajshahi University (RU) campus indicating the prevalence of all pervasive poverty in the region as poor people cannot afford the expenses for leading their families. They put in hard labor from early morning to night only for a pittance to support themselves and their families.
Another child Karim Uddin, 11, has been carrying loads on his head at Motihar hall construction works for around three months to meet up the daily expenses of their poverty-stricken family requirements. He is the youngest son among five children of Abdul Baten, a resident of Shampur village under Paba Upazilla, earns Taka 80 to 120 Taka daily on an average after selling his physical labour.
Narrating their harrowing experience Karim & Saru told: “Some of the owners physically assault us hurl abusive language when we express our pains in carrying the overloaded job “. Sometimes, the owners remain reluctant to pay full money according to their verbal agreement.
These children who are supposed to be in schools have been struggling day and night in different fields.
Most of these children engaged themselves in this profession after being compelled by their families, as there is none to look after them. Moreover, some of them after being driven away by their parents and other members of the family chose this profession.
While talking with some owners of shopkeepers they told that the child labor is more or less eligible for this profession. They are more sincere, dependable and dutiful than other elderly workers.
Prof. Abdur Rahman SIddiqee, a senior teacher of RU Sociology Department expressed that using such children as carrier of goods on their heads is not only the violation of child rights but also detrimental to their normal physical and mental growth.
Carrying loads on head is more dangerous especially towards their physical and mental growth than any other risky jobs. Meanwhile, these children are suffering from different physical and mental problems. As a result, the number of drug addict’s children and social crimes are increasing day by day in RU campus and it’s adjacent, expert again added.
These under-aged helpers hardly create any trouble in their wages.
They are always found satisfied with their earning and if they demand excess wage, they are driven away by their employers.
Poor parents are being compelled to send their children for risky labor as well. Because they have no ability to manage their family as they face financial hardship.
Due to child labor such children has been suffering from several of mental disease like heavy social stress including mental depression. As a result, there is increasing a huge drug addicted children and growing social crimes day by day, said Dr. Masiul Alam, deputy chief physician of RU Medical Centre.
If RU authority help them with giving right information and logistic support, then they can arrange education program for oppressed children, he added.