The International Labor Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency that strives to achieve “decent work for all”. They focus on sustaining reasonable rights in the workplace by ensuring that laborers are not subject to hazardous conditions. Of course, it is impossible to make big changes fast; however, it is undeniable that the organization is taking baby steps towards a fairer future.
One of their most recent projects is the Red Card to Child Labour initiative. This project aims to bring awareness to the issue of child labor by appealing to a larger demographic. In football, a red card signifies when a player has committed a foul. By holding up “the red card to child labor”, theILO essentially advocates against children in the workplace, especially when it is detrimental to their health. Currently, there are 168 million under the age of 18 engaged in child labor. Those involved in child labor do not have the opportunity to attend school, which ultimately hinders them from developing their growing minds to their full potentials. Jodie Mitra, a worker at the ILO, says that “child labor has a widespread effect not just on the child but on his/her family, community, country, [but] even the world.”
In order to take action, on September 17th, the ILO organized a football tournament played by child laborers, in cooperation with The Younghusband Football Academy (TYFA) to provide an opportunity for them to experience childhood. This campaign was backed by such sponsors as Dole and ABS-CBN. Star football-playing brothers Phil and James Younghusband were also in attendance.
Furthermore, Lance Katigbak, (now a Harvard student) directed a short commercial with the Younghusband brothers to further advise the general public about this issue. This commercial can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQp2h5d1LZ8&feature=youtu.be
In the age of social media, there are several ways to effectively educate people on the issue of child labor. In the Philippines, we have the Child Labor Knowledge Sharing (CLKSS), which can be used to report incidences of child labor. Their website can be accessed here: http://www.clkss.org.ph
It is refreshing to see organizations such as the ILO take initiative and act upon pressing world issues that need to be resolved. As a community, we should thank and support them for their efforts in sustaining projects against exploitation. Although there is a long way to go, they come to show that we are well on our way to a better future.
Article by: Ayra Siddiq
Photo Courtesy Of: ILO Philippines Facebook Page