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Protecting children from hazardous labor in Ethiopia

Women operating one of the new soil crushing machines.
Women operating one of the new soil crushing machines.
June 12, 2011

Children in Shebedino, Ethiopia, are celebrating World Day Against Child Labor now that a Plan project has helped protect them from hazardous work and enable them to go to school.

Ten year old Haji used to spend most of his day helping his mother to make pottery and fuel-efficient stoves at the local clay makers – but the work was gruelling. "I needed to crush the soil in the mornings and evenings and then go to school in the afternoon. When I had to work, too much dust came off and covered my clothes and face. I sometimes coughed hard. It is also tiring but I had to spend this time working to support my mother, so that she could produce and sell to buy us food, clothes and stationery," he says.

Aster, aged 9, also worked there, beating clay soil to fine powder using a stick so that her mother would have enough soil to make pottery products. "It is hard to crush clay soil with a stick everyday. I sometimes worked during the evening and did not have time to study and do my homework," she says.

 

Improving children's lives

Now with Plan's support, children such as Aster and Haji don't have to work and can fully attend school. The provision of 1 diesel and 2 manual clay grinding soil machines to members of the Leku Area Fuel Efficient Producers Association has made all the difference.

"Now that we have the motorized soil crusher, we don't need the children to do work so much for us. Children support us with the manual crusher which is much safer and less tiresome than using a stick to crush soil," says local clay maker Beshure Hote.

Aster says: "Now I am much happier as I have time to do my homework and take some time to play in my village."

It is estimated that the machines have reduced the labor pressure on more than 50 children in 3 communities of Plan's Shebedino Program Unit. World Day Against Child Labor is marked on June 12th each year to promote awareness and action to tackle child labour.

Learn more about Plan’s work in Ethiopia.

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