When Covid-19 hit Pakistan, six-year-old Ahmad’s father became ill, unable to work. Without his income, they had to pull Ahmed out of school and put him to work in a small auto repair shop. Because of BRIGHTER TOMORROW, this child laborer now gets an extra meal each day, a chance to learn to read and write, and tools to thrive emotionally.
Ahmad’s story is not unusual. Child labor has a long history in the city of Peshawar and throughout Pakistan. 2005 government statistics estimated that 3.5 million children were involved in child labor, but unofficial figures put the number closer to 10 million. The Covid pandemic has created more poverty, putting school fees beyond the reach of many families.
Forced to leave school, even very young children are finding jobs in the marketplace, tending to animals on their family farm, scavenging the garbage dumps for salable items, and, like Ahmad, sweating in auto shops amidst toxic chemicals. When these children shoulder adult responsibilities, they have no time for play or the usual childhood explorations. They fail to develop a sense of confidence, hope and dignity.
BRIGHTER TOMORROW offers these vulnerable child workers a chance to learn basic literacy and numeracy skills and perhaps return to school in better times ahead. It brings hope and psychosocial tools to the children which can be shared with their family and friends.
The specific objectives of the project are to provide: