A Day in the Life of a Child Laborer

cild working tea shop
Children's faces are blurred to protect their identity

Let us meet Naveed, he is among the thousands of child laborers who were robbed of their childhood after COVID hit the globe and the vulnerable segments of the society hit the bottom. To survive families were forced to send their children into labor and today these children are their major source of income. 

Naveed, like his fellow child laborers, leaves his home in the slums of Peshawar, passing through dark narrow streets to work at the tea shop. He has to be at the shop by dawn to serve the clients who start their work right after the dawn prayers. At the shop he works as a waiter and dishwasher, he takes tea and bread on a traditional tray to the shops and collects the money too. 

The tea shops of Peshawar operate 24/7, 30 days a month for 12 months a year. They open by dawn and close late in the evening long after other businesses close. They serve as a place for the locals to meet and gossip.

When the tea shop itself closes, he has to ensure all the dishes are washed, stacked, counted and the amounts due to the shopkeepers are deposited. He returns home through poorly lit narrow streets, to a home that consists of a single room with an open kitchen and a very basic wash facility. The moment he arrives he hits the bed that he shares with his younger brother so that he can be up for work the next morning. His breakfast consists of cold Naan bread from the previous night and black tea with sugar and a few drops of milk, locally known as grey tea. His lunch and dinner at the shop will consist of bread dipped in lentil or vegetable soup with very little nutritional value.

A Brighter Tomorrow is providing 60 children like Naveed with basic education, some nutritional food and recreation, and support and ways to eclaim their childhood.