/Child Labour in Sri Lanka – Dhainika Ishani Wickramakaluthota

Child Labour in Sri Lanka – Dhainika Ishani Wickramakaluthota

Dhainika Ishani Wickramakaluthota
PoliTeknik International Board Member –Pupil from Matara, Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka anyone under 18 years of age is considered as a child. All children must attend school until 18 years of age. Using children below 14 years of age for labour is considered a huge crime in my country. Compared to other Asian countries child labour is not a burning issue in my country as it is very less. Sri Lankan government offers free education up to the university level. So most parents try to provide their children with good education. Instead of involving them in day-to-day activities and household works,parents always motivate their children to study.

But there are a few situations in which the children are labouring for their own family. If the mother has gone abroad,then the elder boy or girl has to look after the younger siblings.In situations like these some of them have to stop schooling. If there is an infant in the family, the elder has to look after him/her. In some situations these children don’t have enough time to manage their studies and household work. For the sake of family their schooling is stopped. According to my opinion poverty is the major reason for this type of child labour.

Mother is considered as the all round guardian of the family. When she has to migrate for work due to financial reasons, lives of some children are squandered in vain. Considering this issue Sri Lankan government has taken some steps to minimize the difficulties of the poor. Families with low income are given essential food items and sanitary items for free every month. Apart from this people are given some amount of money every month. This is called „samurdhi“. Staple meal of Sri Lanka is rice and curry.  Although rice can be provided for free vegetables cannot be given for free every month. Therefore the government has taken steps to motivate people towards home garden cultivation. To support this essential vegetable plants and fertilizers are given for free. By these solutions a family with low income doesn’t need to spend a lot for food. They can use this money for other family needs. Tendency of Sri Lankan mothers to go abroad has been reduced relative to the past because of these efforts.

When a child lives with a step mother or step father, they try to use that child as domestic help In situations like these the child has to do various household work that isn’t suitable for the age. These children have lack of parental love and undergo depression. This has grave impact on a child’s future. Once they grow up, there is a substantial chance that they would treat their kids the same way. Thus, a child’s mental and emotional health is extremely important, especially in such conditions. Some girls are sexually abused and physically harassed by their step fathers which, in some cases, can plunge them into becoming sex slaves or make them take their own lives. In other situations, physical abuse can aggravate to a regular occurrence.

A separate unit has been established in every police station of Sri Lanka for crimes on children and women. A female officer is appointed as the administrator of that unit. A child who is facing such a situation has the ability to complain directly. Necessary legal actions are taken after the complain. If the child no longer likes to live with these people, he/she is sent to a care centre which is administered by the government. There all the needs of the child are fulfilled. The government takes full responsibility to make their life a fruitful one in the society.

Child labour is a huge crime in Sri Lanka. Therefore, instances of child labour are scarce in my country. Everyone loves to have a sweet childhood. No one has any right any right to make someone’s childhood a bitter one. Every child should be treated equally. The most important thing is to take great care of a child’s mental and emotional health. If not, a society full of corruption and crime will be created and because mentally harassed children would grow up to become an unproductive member of the society because of their personal bitter experiences. It is a noble thing and a great responsibility to be a good parent. If everyone cared for all children the same way they do for their own child, it would make the world a better place. A child represents the next generation of that country to have a fruitful generation children and should be treated well. Sri Lanka is a country which considers the education as a child’s right. So a prominent place is given by the government by offering free textbooks, uniforms and other school items.People in Sri Lanka gain a lot from  free education. Most of the children work hard for studies and make their dreams come true with the help of a free education system.