Monday, November 12, 2012

Working Children in Yemen

Child labour is a common problem in MENA (Middle East & North Africa), yet more so in Yemen.  Children (0 - 18) form the biggest group in the Yemeni society, they constitue more than 50% of the population. Due to hard economic conditions and poverty many are forced to work to support their families, missing out on their childhood and any chances of getting an education.

This heartbreaking photo taken by Yemeni photographer AmeenAlghabri of a working child in Yemen during the revolution captured the attention and sympathy of many. Yet not many know that the child in the photo is a girl nor do they know her story. Last year BBC reporter Lina Sinjab tracked the girl and reported her story here: Yemeni child behind a revolutionary portrait

Five year old Awssan's story is just one of many sad stories of children working in Yemen. Yet she is luckier than other working children who face hazardous and harder jobs.   

Yemeni law prohibits children from working if they are below the age of 18. In 2010 the government estimated the number of working children to be around 1 million, yet others estimate the number to be much higher. The children's situation in Yemen has deteriorated after the revolution. Many more have joined the work force due to unemployment and the rise in prices resulting from the hard economic conditions which the country is facing. 

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