By Tanya Maswaure
Starting on the 15th of May 2022, the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour launched in Durban, South Africa. This particular one was unique from its predecessors; not only was it on the African Soil for the first time, but it was the first time children were involved in the deliberations. The children and youth present at the event spoke extensively about their own experiences with child labour in their countries and what their peers experience. They all represented millions of children in and out of child labour. Amongst these young activists, a few stood out, with significant positions in youth organisations, national podcasts, and major strides in their work against child labour.
Currently, 160 million children – 63 million girls and 97 million boys – are in child labour accounting for almost 1 in 10 of all children worldwide. Nearly half 79 million of whom are in hazardous work. Amongst the delegates who were discussing strategies on the elimination of child labour based on their diverse experiences were the children and youth activists. Amazons Watch Magazine spotlights these inspiring young activists who are fighting for the elimination of child labour.
Rebekka is an LLB student at the University of Namibia. Passionate about human rights and social justice. A vibrant young leader affiliated with a student organization (NANSO). She is at the conference as a delegate and was nominated by the youth in Namibia to represent them. Rebekka works alongside her peers under the 100 Million Campaign against Child Labour.
Esther, one of the youngest in the group, is currently a student at the Malawi Assemblies of God University in Lilongwe, Malawi. The 18-year-old is an entrepreneur running small scale businesses within the campus and is also serving as the Deputy Secretary-General for Southern Africa Students Union (SASU).
Divine is an artivist from Burundi, running the first and most popular podcast in the country. Besides only being 22, Divine has been writing and creating for years. He is currently studying Strategic Communication in Burundi. Divine continues to use his art to communicate important messages. Now he is here to use his art to stand up and create a voice for all the children in labour.
Samuel Sasu Adonteng
Leading the 100 Million Campaign team, 25-year-old Samuel graduated from the University of Professional Studies Accra with a Bachelor of Business Administration and is looking forward to pursuing further courses in International Relations and Public Policy. He is currently pursuing an MBA in Total Quality Management.
A Child labour survivor and advocate, Rajesh works with the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation. Together with his colleagues, they are working together to share their experiences with the panels and other youths present to help raise awareness and push the leaders to make the right decisions.
Tara is a 17-year-old child labour survivor and the youngest in the group. Tara is a first-generation learner from the Banjara community, a nomadic community in Rajasthan, India, who worked in road cleaning and construction until she was 8. Tara is now in college and hopes to join the police force. Tara is not just the first girl but the first child in her community to complete her schooling and pursue higher secondary education. She is an activist and made significant changes to her village and India as a whole.
Amar is a 25-year-old lawyer who is also a child labour survivor. Now he is an advocate and works with his colleagues to fight for children in child labour. Amar is also a speaker at the conference and works with Rajesh at the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation. His story has already moved delegates, and he set the pace at the conference as one of the first youth speakers.