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Child Labour Platform: ISWA Scholarship Programme sheds light on Dumpsites

Between 5-6 October 2017, dumpsites were on the agenda at the Child Labour Platform, exposing one of the world's most dangerous workplaces and highlighting the amazing work of the ISWA Scholarship Programme.

8 Oct 2017 -

Last week ISWA was invited by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to present the Scholarship Programme at the 2017 Child Labour Platform in Geneva, co-organised by Alliance 8.7, United Nations Global Compact and the International Labour Organisation.  

The platform was established following a Nestle report on tackling child labour and aimed to raise awareness on the unacceptable state of child poverty, especially in Africa and Latin America. Worldwide 218 million children between 5 and 17 years are in employment. Among them, 152 million are victims of child labour; almost half of them, 73 million, work in hazardous child labour.

Among those working in hazardous places, many are working in informal waste collection on open dumpsites, some of the most polluted workplaces on our planet. According to ISWA’s 2016 report, dumpsites receive 40% of the world’s waste and affect the daily lives 64 million people. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that many millions of children are working as informal waste pickers on dumpsites, risking their lives to collect recyclables from hazardous waste dumps.

With this in mind, ISWA Communications expert, Ana Loureiro from Portugal was in Geneva to discuss the issues of child labour on dumpsites and how the ISWA Scholarship Programme is providing a way out for some fortunate children in Nicaragua. “This was an opportunity to shed light on a much-ignored area of child labour and it was clear that many of the participants knew very little of the conditions of kids working in trash.” said Ana, who was overwhelmed by the interest and engagement generated by the Scholarship Programme and the conditions of kids working in waste in developing economies. 

Ana presented the case of Melkin, one of the beneficiaries of the programme. Melkin moved to La Chureca dumpsite at the age 6 where he lived and worked for $1.60 per day until he was 16 years old before joining the ISWA Scholarship Programme. He is now 19 and has not collected waste from the dumpsite since both him and his sister were given scholarships for private tuition. He is currently studying technology and English and already has a job as a mechanic lined up.

ISWA’s participation at the Child Labour Platform allowed us to highlight the urgency of the global dumpsite situation and the need to immediately take children away from one of the world’s most hazardous workplaces. Through working with the children, we begin to understand why people migrate or become economically dependent on the trade of recycling. This has become important in ISWA's initiative to #CloseDumpsites. Open unregulated dumpsites are harmful to the environment, as well as the communities working and living in these conditions. In order to close a dump, the true informal sector must be properly involved.

If you would like to support a child like Melkin and help them out of the dumpsite, just $500 will provide tuition, food, transport, uniform, books and other materials for an entire year. You can donate via the ISWA Website.


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