Kids in Crisis FAQs

I once met a boy1 who shared how he searches the alleys of Kampala from dawn to dusk, collecting discarded cardboard boxes. He visits the alleyways behind the local market stalls, picking up cardboard that once held soap, sodas or other items. Sometimes, he’ll “strike gold” and find a giant TV box. 

When he’s gathered several boxes, he brings them to the sprawling downtown marketplace, known as Owino Market, and sells them to the shoe salesmen. They cut the cardboard into sole-size pieces and slide the cardboard into the footwear to help the shoes keep their shape. 

Young Kandwanaho (not pictured) fights for survival by working excruciatingly long hours searching for cardboard to sell. Sometimes he has nothing to show for it at the end of the day and, if so, goes hungry. But even on the days when he makes enough to eat, Kandwanaho still has to join the thousands of other children searching the streets of Kampala for somewhere safe to wait out the night

If Kandwanaho works for 12-hours, he makes the equivalent of one US dollar.

Sometimes he roams the streets all day and does not find a single box to recycle. On those days, he has nothing to eat unless he digs through the garbage piles to search for scraps of discarded food, competing with stray dogs and chasing away the cockroaches.

For many kids in crisis like him, the most challenging time is nightfall when the city’s hectic rhythm abates. It’s like everyone returns home, except for the kids who live on the streets. They have nobody, and nowhere to go. Dusk is their cue to find a drainage ditch or empty shack for the night. It’s their hour to search piles of trash for any food discarded at the end of the day. 

In Uganda, because street boys are viewed by many business owners as thieves and troublemakers, they’re chased off, beaten up and, in extreme cases, even murdered. The reality that human life is cheap and expendable on Kampala’s volatile streets is clearly evident for these kids in crisis.

As the lowest of the low, street kids are most often the “whipping boys” when anything goes wrong. My contact tearfully told me that a group of his friends were once caught stealing copper pipes they intended to sell. They were kicked in the head, beaten unconscious, soaked in gasoline and set on fire. At their burial in a paupers’ graveyard, street boys were the only mourners present.

Child Labor in the Fashion Industry

Child labor in the fashion industry is prevalent throughout the garment-making process. Children are often used to pollinate cotton plants, harvest the cotton, spin yarn, cut fabric, dye cloth, sew on buttons, embroider, fold and pack.

Child Exploitation

Child exploitation is defined as the act of “using a minor child for profit, labor, sexual gratification, or some other personal or financial advantage. Child exploitation often results in cruel or harmful treatment of the child, as the activities he or she may be forced to take part in can cause emotional, physical, and social problems.”

Girl Education Charities

Girl education charities provide crucial help and opportunities to keep girls in school. Many girls will not regularly attend classes or finish school if they do not have the appropriate resources and support. Education builds confidence in girls and offers them opportunities to learn, grow and hope.

Gender Inequality in School

In some communities in Asia, gender bias has a strong influence on children from the moment a child is born. This bias appears in many areas of life, especially in school and at home. Gender inequality in school in South Asia generally impacts females more than males.

Countries with Child Labor

Girl education charities provide crucial help and opportunities to keep girls in school. Many girls will not regularly attend classes or finish school if they do not have the appropriate resources and support.

Effects of Child Labor

Children should be asked questions about what they want to be when they grow up or what class at school they like the best. Children should not be treated for machete wounds from working long, difficult hours in sugar plantations. Their childhood stolen, these youth grow up with the lifelong negative effects of child labor.

Child Labor Examples

Child labor is any “…work performed by a child that is likely to interfere with his or her right to education, or to be harmful to his or her health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.” Child labor examples are prevalent in agriculture, mining, factories and more.

Child Marriage

Two hundred million girls might be alive today if they weren’t, well, girls. That is how many female babies and girls the United Nations estimates have died because they were not born male and were rejected by their families.

Girls in Developing Countries

A country’s history, culture and social stratification all contribute to the access girls have to education in their country. Girls in developing countries have the least access to education than other places in the world and face more obstacles in receiving and maintaining educational opportunities.

What Is Exploitation

The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads, in part, “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms,” and, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Any action against any human who does not conform to this standard is a violation of basic human rights worldwide. This answers our question of what is exploitation.

Why Is Child Labor Bad

Child labor is any: “…work performed by a child that is likely to interfere with his or her right to education, or to be harmful to his or her health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.” So why is child labor bad? Childhood is a fundamental time for children’s physical, mental and emotional development. Child labor deprives children of opportunities to go to school, play with friends and thrive as children.

1 Lukins, Julian. “Children in Crisis: The World’s Greatest ‘Badge of Shame'”. GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/special-report/children-at-risk-kids-in-crisis/. January 22, 2022