CHILD LABOR: IS THERE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL?


To say that I’m another victim of this cruel, dajjali society won’t do. Stamp me as a pessimist but I am going to talk your ears off just like your mother does with her melodramatic daily soaps. I have been holding back for so long because there’s nobody to hear me, let alone pay attention to what I have to say. I want it all out of me, as bad as a food poisoned person wants to throw up.

I’ll tell you who I am in a few words. I am someone who loves watching the pale yellow hues which lazily spring out of nowhere in the clear morning sky to form the brilliant, vibrant sun. I like doing this because it makes me feel witty and insightful. I love hearing my mistress ramble on about unintelligible things to remind her husband of how well-read she is. It makes me feel better, seeing I’m not the only one who cannot get back at my hard-hearted mistress. And, I’m a lover of alphabets. They seem like the biggest mystery, the priceless treasure that can make me invincible. I am also nobody to my parents, parents who meant the whole world to me, but left me to take care of my siblings when I was little. Yes I am a school dropout. But most of all, I am a 15 year old maidservant, a loner without any rays of hope in the gloomy little bubble that my life is.

What is it that I’m so distraught about? Well maybe it is the incessant work for starters. Cleaning the house, doing the dishes and laundry, ironing the clothes, cooking the meals, taking care of the mistress’ children is not a torment. But there are pangs in the shredded sack that my heart is, when I see girls my age playing around or just laying back, dressed in the fanciest of ensembles, still whining about petty things to their parents. Thoughts about my little siblings getting themselves hurt when I’m away, are glued in my mind like a stubborn coffee stain that doesn’t come off the carpet no matter how hard I try. Thoughts about not being able to make it back home in time to see off my ailing grandmother, make me choke up sometimes. Thoughts about my aunt, who is carrying an illegitimate child and when people associate me with her it makes me want to just…disappear. But me being betrothed to a man in his 40s is the icing on the cake.

I look into the now cracking mirror of my life, so full of smudges that won’t go away regardless of how squeaky-clean I want to make it. I’m not pursuing life with eager feet in a false hope that I’ll elude the nightmarish course of events which keep creeping up on me sinisterly.

­ Taiba, an ingenious girl who wanted to be a writer.

Hundreds of organizations are working to fight child labour, to look after and provide for children. Millions of children suffer emotionally and physically from doing strenuous work that doesn’t befit them. They are deprived of not just education, human rights or social justice. They are deprived of a proper childhood which they deserve!

What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

 


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