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Stolen Smiles – can something be done about child labor in Jordan?

June 22, 2011
 Dear world,My name is Mohammad and this is me taking a stand against child labor!This is the last of 4 posts; click on the images bellow for the previous ones.


Child labor in Jordan . . . if I learned something from the reactions to my previous posts it is this: everyone is against it yet few talk about it!

It’s a phenomenon caused by the interplay of many many problems with one thing in common: the poor children are the victims at the end! But, Can something be done? I believe so, however, if you’re reading this post for a quick genius solution then you’re looking in the wrong place!

To be honest these posts have put me under some pressure: people started expecting me to come up with a solution . . . I don’t have a solution! I merely had an idea when I started these posts – a rather incomplete one – and its up to you to build on it! Feel free to criticize, change or tear it apart! As far as I’m concerned: the importance of an idea is not only intrinsic to it or the general concept behind it; but equally as important is how many times it travels back and forth among people and as it does it gets more & more refined.

Back to our topic:

Again, no short term solution is effective; this issue should be targeted on the long run. It is not a single problem with a single solution it is the result of many components that should be isolated and targeted one by one!

How is that? Yep a flow chart! I guess this post looks more entertaining now, huh?
(No??? *sigh* that’s how they taught us to spice things up at med school …)

So; we can act on two levels, alone on a personal level and collectively as a community (one pours into the other though).

Act as an individual:

  1. We should stop giving them money! Look for someone in need who is not parading his/ her children in the streets to get paid . . . help those! Simply, dry out the revenue of this business.
  2. I really like the idea suggested by “Kinzi” and “Majdooj“: give the children something for themselves, buy them a sandwich if you’re in a restaurant (insure the kid eats it in front of you!) give him/ her a piece of candy, a cap or a T-shirt . . . smile in their face . . . be friendly: do something for them not the ones who exploit them.

Acting together as a community:

For a community to target a problem it needs to 1. Admit that there is a problem 2. Know more about the problem 3. Work on the problem by targeting its components.

  1. Admit there is a problem

Awareness, AWARENESS, AWARENESS! This problem will never be treated if people don’t know about it. No problem ever will! Governments and volunteer organizations will not look at it unless people start asking questions and demanding actions. Again, the importance of a problem is not intrinsic only to it but also to how people react to it!

So; we should share more stories, photos and articles about child labor with others, more people should know about it!

Some people expressed their willingness to help; a Facebook page and a Twitter account for this would be great. More important are people who can admin those (not me . . .), I’ll update this post with the links once it happens; reply in the comments bellow if you’re interested in taking part!

2. Know more about the problem

Several facts remain unclear about this problem, more needs to be known and data needs to be collected before anyone can effectively do anything! This can be done on two levels:

First: us, the non experts, we should pool all the news articles and current statistics in one place (the Facebook page hopefully?)

Second: social experts with well-designed studies should collect more data about this.

Why data? Because many questions remain unanswered and you can’t act effectively without knowledge! For example, here are some few questions that come to mind:

Is this really an industry controlled by “syndicates”?

Do the parents of these children have access to work yet choose to offer them for hire as an “easier” option?

For the above two questions the police needs to be involved!

What is the level of education of their parents?

Do these children attend formal education?

For those social services and NGOs need to be involved!

Are they refugees (Palestinians or Iraqis)?

If they are the UNICEF and the UNRWA need to be involved!

And, of course, it’s almost certain that they are all “under privileged” families . . .

In which case every one – individuals, governments, organizations – needs to be involved and help out!

3. Work on the problem

If you’re still looking for a short term solution, here you go: organize a festival, get a bunch of “underprivileged kids”, teach them to sing or dance or something with proper media coverage you will get a spike in awareness and send everyone home thinking they solved the problem!

Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to see such an event . . . BUT, I would HATE to see people think that’s all that could be done!

In short, as mentioned under “know more about the problem” we need to know more about this and target the gears that have set the beast of child labor in motion; remember: the sum of multiple small actions can turn into something great!

 Dear world,When will all children have access to equal opportunities?When will human beings stop destroying an innocent existence at the very begging of its journey?

I don’t know! But I would rather do something than stand idle asking questions! I will keep sharing as much stories as I can; that’s all I can afford to do . . . what can you afford to do?


Spread the word: Tweet, share, reddit, Stumble, Digg, like, reblog . . . do you thing!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2011 11:50 am

    7irz, thanks for the link and the obvious love for exploited little ones. And the cool artwork!

    • June 22, 2011 7:37 pm

      Kinzi, thank you for your support and more importantly: thank you for reaching out to those in need 🙂

  2. Haitham Al-Sheeshany permalink
    June 22, 2011 12:03 pm

    I salute you.
    The “framework” is awesome and we all should start implementing…

    • June 22, 2011 7:38 pm

      I salute you back 🙂

      Do you think you can create a facebook page against child labor in Jo? I think some one should!

  3. June 22, 2011 12:49 pm

    Very good analysis 7irz =)

    You know what, I think that a big problem that faces NGOs in the field of social work is the damn ossified social fabric they try to work on itself. It makes one think how can you do anything with it with so many taboos littering our daily lives?

    The so called sanctity of nuclear families is the bedrock that all of these atrocities (crime honor, child abuse, child labor,… etc) rely on, and it is well guarded by conspiracy theories and religious nonsense.

    • June 22, 2011 7:40 pm

      I agree its a big part of the problem . . . proper education should alleviate this don’t you think?

      • June 23, 2011 2:14 pm

        Thanks for the sweet comment Mohammad! I’m glad I found your blog, touching and inspiring~ It is sad how our community is steered toward ignorance and heartlessness, and it is a good thing that you remind us about those little unfortunate ones…

        • June 23, 2011 3:09 pm

          Thanks Rina, I hope we can do something about it; the some of our little efforts might do something great, you never know!

          BTW I’m exhibiting some crafts-art I’m working on soon 🙂 would love to hear your opinion!


  1. Stolen Smiles – can something be done about child labor in Jordan? (via 7irz) « Observations of a tired sOul.
  2. Stolen Smiles – Children for rent « 7irz
  3. Stolen Smiles – The mechanic and the boy « 7irz
  4. Stolen Smiles – The little Girl Selling Rosaries at Starbucks « 7irz

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