Elimination of Child Labor

Assessing the Profound COVID-19 Impact on Child Labor

The distressing consequences of the COVID-19 impact on child labor have been observed in societies worldwide. One such story comes from The Arab News, which shared the account of 14-year-old Omar. As schools in Jordan closed due to the pandemic, Omar found himself working long hours repairing kerosene heaters instead of pursuing his dream of becoming a pilot. The economic hardships caused by COVID-19 have forced many minors, like Omar, into the labor market prematurely. While Omar remains determined to support his family, the constant smell of kerosene makes his work unbearable. Nevertheless, he refuses to let the pandemic hinder his aspirations and is determined to return to school.

UNICEF warns that the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to push millions of children back into the workforce. As the virus affects the livelihoods of breadwinners in low- and middle-income countries, children who were already deprived of education are now compelled to seek employment in hazardous sectors such as mines, mills, factories, and farms to contribute to their families’ well-being.[1]

The pandemic has disrupted global supply chains, leading to diminished demand and job losses for adults. Consequently, children are left with no choice but to fill the gaps in the labor force.[2] Japan Today reports that children who were already engaged in labor before the pandemic now face longer hours and worse conditions. Additionally, families struggling to survive the economic downturn may resort to forcing their children into labor.[3]

These challenges are not confined to specific regions; they extend across the globe. In Bolivia, the cancellation of school attendance has resulted in 6-year-old Mariana Geovana and her siblings joining their parents in a small carpentry shop outside of La Paz. Similarly, 11-year-old Andrés Gomez in the Chiapas state of Mexico now wields a hammer in an amber mine instead of holding a pencil in a classroom.[4] Florence Mumbua’s story from Nairobi reflects the harsh reality faced by many families. With no means to offer her children online classes, her three young children are forced to crush rocks daily, earning a meager income to sustain their basic needs.[5]

While these stories shed light on the immediate impact of the pandemic on child labor, it is crucial to address the underlying factors driving this issue. Economic hardships, disrupted education, and the breakdown of support systems have contributed to the rise in child labor during these challenging times. Understanding these complex dynamics is essential to formulating effective solutions.

As we navigate the ongoing effects of the pandemic, it is crucial to prioritize the protection and well-being of children. Efforts should be directed towards providing access to quality education, supporting vulnerable families, and creating sustainable economic opportunities for adults. Only through concerted action and collaboration can we strive for a future where children are not deprived of their rights and are free from the burdens of labor. One impactful way to make a lasting difference is through child sponsorship programs like the one offered by GFA World.

By embracing the opportunity to sponsor a child, you can break the relentless cycle of poverty and transform lives. Inspired by Jesus’ love for the poor, GFA World’s child sponsorship program provides hope and help to free children from the grip of poverty. Through your support, you can provide essential support that goes beyond rescuing a child—it creates a ripple effect that transforms families and communities. With a community development model at its core, GFA World’s program addresses real needs, including access to food, clean water, healthcare, education, and more. Join GFA World in sponsoring a child and witness the incredible impact your support can make in breaking the cycle of poverty and providing a brighter future for children in need.

Learn more about elimination of child labor

[1] “COVID-19 and Child Labor: A Time of Crisis, a Time to Act.” n.d. UNICEF USA. Accessed June 22, 2023. https://www.unicefusa.org/stories/covid-19-and-child-labor-time-crisis-time-act.
[2] “EU Parliament Vote Critical to Hold Companies to Account.” 2021. Human Rights Watch. January 21, 2021. https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/01/21/eu-parliament-vote-critical-hold-companies-account.
[3] “How Can the World Boost Efforts to End Child Labor in 2021?” 2021. Japan Today. January 4, 2021. https://japantoday.com/category/features/opinions/expert-views-how-can-the-world-boost-efforts-to-end-child-labour-in-2021.
[4] “Pandemic Driving Children back to Work, Jeopardizing Gains.” 2020. AP NEWS. October 15, 2020. https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-pandemics-mexico-india-united-nations-fffae94a31ba82437bb1bb92d5f12c0a.
[5] Ibid.