These run away Children either seek shelter in orphanages or are found on the footpaths like stray dogs. To feed themselves these children start working in carpet weaving industries, football industries, or they do other sorts of work even they start begging on streets.
I'd like to share a true story of one such girl (11year old) who was forced to work due to her circumstances.
The girl's father divorced her mother and married someone who already had 3 daughters and one son. The father did not let the girl's mother to take her daughter along with her. The new mother did not care for the child for she already had her own kids and she had no love for her stepdaughter. So the little girl was ill treated by her stepsisters and mother her stepbrother kept a bad eye on her she was turned into a maid in her father's own house. Her father stopped supporting her financially he stopped her from going to school although her step siblings were admitted in her school and her father was taking care of all their expenditures but not hers. So to keep her education going the little kid started working. She started cleaning houses of other people her mother used to take away all her wages when she used to ask for her money her step mother used to beat her. In the morning she used to wake up at 5.00 then she used to perform all the house hold chores then she used to go to school after that she used to go on work she used to return in the evening and then she use to work in her own house till late night to please her step mother, her father and her step siblings so that she can get stale food sometimes it even happened there was no food for her.
Above all the child was beaten badly. When her stepbrother's acts behavior and attitude became unbearable she ran away from her house she took a train from Lahore to Karachi she had some money, which she had managed to earn. In Karachi a taxi driver thinking that she was a lost child or a run away child dropped her at the radio station where announcements of the child were made for two to three months but no one turned up in her search or to claim her.
When someone asked the girl that does she want to go back to her house and does she think her parents will come in search of her she replied in a very mature manner she said " My parents will not come in search of me for if they loved me they could have printed my pictures in newspapers, they do not love me for if they would have loved me I wouldn't have escaped. I know they will never come for they don't love me". She asked why doesn't my father love me? Do all parents treat their children in the same manner as my parents treated me? Are all mothers just like mine?
She is admitted in Edhi Home where hundreds of children are admitted daily through out the country due to the same reasons or reasons similar to them.
Are Edhi Homes or Orphanages better then homes?
These Children will grow up some how or the other having reflections of such child hood on their personalities. Who is to be blamed for psychological problems they might encounter for the rest of their lives in the form of hound memories.
This is just one example of mistreatment at home and at work my country is full of examples where very small children are being deprived of the experiences of youth and childhood.
It is really upsetting to see little children turned into adults due to the problems they face at an age when they should only think of playing and studying instead they are forced to think of ways to feed themselves and educate themselves.
Child Labour and Child Violation can only be stopped if not only parents but the society at large also join hands together to solve the problems faced by such children.
The basic problem I find in my country is mass illiteracy as well as inflation that is forcing people to send their children out to work. Even educated parents are seen to mistreat their children in the name of discipline for they are unaware of how young children should be raised.
Inflation and Mass illiteracy seems to be insurmountable. However one can deal with such problems by thinking of small measures that can be taken and our within his/her control.
Media can be used very effectively in this regard. E.g. radio /television etc. apart from this schools can serve as the best place for educating parents about how to treat and care for their children. For those parents and people who do not send their children to schools once again media can serve as an important tool for educating them through different programs.
In this regard one key element is commitment and a drive to do something concrete for as Mother Teresa says, " We often don't do things simply thinking that it would be just a drop in the ocean but don't you think that the ocean would be incomplete without that missing drop."
All girls and boys should be treated equally and children of both sexes should be provided with education. For if people start giving the rights of their children and start treating them equally there won't be any problem of Child Labour.
We should realize that all children are our children and children are born to be loved.
The D.H.A Degree College for Women
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