Child labour on rise in Rajshahi region

Published : 23 Jul 2023 08:54 PM

Child labour is on the rise in Rajshahi region due to economic hardship and the vicious cycle of poverty. 

In the pursuit of livelihood, tender-hearted children are faced with a difficult reality at the very beginning of their lives. But at the age when books, notebooks and pens are supposed to be in their hands, they pick up the tools of hard work.

Despite a ban on using children as labourers, a huge number of children are seen working elsewhere in all alleys, villages and markets of Rajshahi district and the surrounding districts. Their bright future is shrouded in darkness as their guardians or parents are failing to rear those children with proper food, clothing and education. As a result, these children are being employed as day labourers in many hotels, restaurants, tea stalls, and motorcycle or bicycle garages, in buses or trucks, in construction sites and even for breaking bricks into brick-bats in the brick fields. Due to their engagement in hard labour, child labour is on the increase in the district.   

Child Hasan of the Helenabad area of Rajshahi stood first in the final examinations of class VIII. He was supposed to register his name in class IX but he failed to register his name as his parents failed to pay Tk 600 registration fees and other educational fees. Now the child works as a helper of a fish trader in Shaheb Bazar area.  Some of such working children help their families and also go to school whereas some of those have abandoned their education. 

A child working at a fish shop in Shaheb Bazaar earned Tk 200 daily. He is not visiting his school any more. He is the eldest of two brothers and a sister. 

He informed, he now feels no interest in education and he has to work in the fish shop from 8-00 AM to 2-00 PM daily. After returning home afterwards, he watches television and after taking his lunch, he sleeps at noon and went to gossip with his friends in the afternoon. He returns home around 9-00 PM and sleeps around 11-00 to 11-30 PM after taking dinner and watching the television. 

Another child working at a Motor cycle garage in the Railgate area informed he reads in class VIII. His father is a bus driver and he is the elder of two brothers and a sister. He informed he has been working at the garage for the last two-year. Due to the pressure of work, he fails to visit school regularly. He earns Tk 1,000 per week by working at the garage. He said, his father has been suffering from a heart ailment and he can not work regularly. As a result, he is working at the garage aiming to build such a garage of his own in the near future. After the death of the father of Rony Hasan,07, of Natore,  his mother remarried and Rony was abandoned from the family. Rony then came to Rajshahi by train. Now,  he works at a tea stall at the Zero Point of Shaheb Bazaar. Due to utter poverty, these children are deprived of education and of facilities.

According to a report by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics of 2023, nearly 17 lakh 50 thousand children are engaged in child labour in the country. The government has fixed a target to eliminate child labour from the country by 2025. However, child labour is increasing in the country alarmingly. If such situations continue, it will be hard to end child labour by 2025 unless the government takes any crush measures to end this practice.