The problem of child labour has been represented in many movies around the
world. In Egypt, many writers, directors and actors were moved by the phenomenon
and saw it as their role to trace this problem and explore it from different
angles. Egyptian cinema tried to expose the main reasons behind child labour
as well as its effects on the individual and society. Some movies helped to
suggest some realistic and practical solutions to deal with this issue.
One of the most famous movies which succeeded in drawing the attention to
the dangers of exploiting early childhood was "Nahn La Nazra' Al Shawk"
(We Aren't Planting The Thorns). In this movie, a very young girl called
'Sayeda' is forced to work as a servant after the death of her parents. She
worked for shelter and food, never given any money. She was also very badly
treated and violently beaten by her mistress.
As an adult, Sayeda suffered a lot in her life which was a series of continuous
tragedies. The film ends with the death of Sayeda becuase her health was always
weak. On her death bed she calls for light (symbolising education) and urges
everybody to spread the light all about.
Some Egyptian writers expressed the idea that there's no permenant solution
for child labour. Society suffers from poverty and over population, all the
members of a poor family are struggling to secure a roof to live under. Their
dreams are so humble, limited to daily meals and few pieces of cloth. In front
of this tragedy, the young children in the family feel obliged to help. They
can appreciate what their parents are doing, and they want to provide them
"El Garage" (The Garage) is an Egyptian movie which shows
a family of 12 members, all of them living in a garage. The father, having
got tired of this great load and unable to take responsibility any further,
deserts his family, leaving them all in the care of the mother. Of course
the mother did her best to support the family, but she got too weak and her
health suffered a great deal. Her children felt it was their responsibility
to work and support the family.
The film was successful in delivering a message against over popultaion. Parents
must plan ahead and always have the aim of securing a happy life for their
Nagla El Baz