Saturday, March 24, 2012

Malagasy Children and Child Labor

I have been blessed to not have endured stressors during my childhood.  I asked my parents if they had and my dad shared a story with me I had never heard.  He was never allowed to ride a horse because my grandmother had been thrown off a horse and then stepped on by the horse.  As a result, my grandfather had to do the heavy lifting with the laundry because she had hurt her back.  While not a real huge stressor in childhood, it is a true example of how one incident can affect so much of your life.  In the 20’s and 30’s it was not common for the husband to help with the laundry.

I decided to look at Madagascar again, as that is where our friends are serving.  Check out their amazing journey here.  Some of the great stressors on childhood in Madagascar are: violence against children, forced marriages for girls, forced child labor, lack of care, environmental issues, and discrimination.

Through my reading I found the term “Worst Forms of Child Labor” which includes slavery (sales, trafficking, serfdom, forced labor, using children in armed conflict), Sexual exploitation of children (prostitution & pornography), and using children for illegal activities.

The question is posed “Why is it urgent and important to take action against the worst forms of child labor?  Their answers include:
  •  It is a matter of human rights
  • It is a matter of saving lives.
  • It is a matter of combating some particularly odious forms of organized crime.
  • It is a matter of protecting children from the horrors of war. 
  • It is a matter of building a nation’s future.
  • It is a matter of international concern.
Photos of beautiful Malagasy children
In Madagascar the child labor imposed on nearly 1.9 million children involves sexual exploitation of children, work in stone quarries and mines, domestic servitude, farm and fishing industry work, and other work in dangerous and unhealthy urban and rural jobs.  This represents 20% of 5-9 year olds and 50% of 10-14 year old children are exposed to these labor conditions.

Madagascar has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and are in the very beginning stages of enacting government procedures to protect children.  January 20, 2012 the United Nations considered the Madagascar report and their dialogue is posted here.

Along with the governmental work, Pact, a non-profit is working in Madagascar to use education to combat child labor.


  1. Living aboard you learn and see a lot of things we don't see so much stateside. I know when we first moved over I had to instill in my daughter the dangers of the blackmarket for young girls. The things that are done to children are horrifying to say the least.

    1. I just can't even imagining having to teach that to my children! Thank you for sharing just another aspect of this horrendous activity in our world

  2. Dear Amy,

    The horror! I can't imagine adults exploiting children for financial gain, but yet this readily happens. I really liked your last picture... It embodies hope! The hope for a better future for all Madagascar children :)

    1. I agree with the image of hope! I loved how they were all looking at the camera, ready and willing to learn.

  3. As an educator and someone who loves children dearly, it is hard for me to even fathom the things talked about in your posting. However, they really do happen. Thank you for being an advocate for these children and making us aware of their situation. Sometimes making people aware is the best form of advocacy.

  4. This is sad. It is simply ridiculous that adults will steal a child's innocence and ruin their lives all for a piece of change. They should view children as a blessing instead of a profit. Sadden by those without a heart or a care in the world for children.

  5. Sounds like they could benefit from the implementation of the UNCRC.