Every June 12, the World Day Against Child Labor is commemorated, a situation of which Nicaragua is no exception.
In the country, there are organizations like World Vision Nicaragua that fight to eradicate this scourge.
“We continue to work as an organization, perhaps we will not eradicate it completely, but we can all do something to reduce child labor, because the person who is at home and gives work to a child is part of the problem, we sometimes We think that in this way we are helping the child and collaborating financially, but it really is not like that,” explained Karen Tinoco, specialist in the spirituality, protection and education program of World Vision Nicaragua.
He added that “children must be studying, playing and there is an age for everything. I believe that collaborating is in each one of us, it depends on us that these numbers of children working decrease because those who employ children are adults”.
For 10 years, state institutions have not presented official or updated figures on how many children and adolescents work.
A study by the National Institute of Development Information published in 2012 revealed that until that year, at least 396,118 children and adolescents were estimated to be in this condition.
“We do not have exact figures as a country, the last study was carried out ten years ago, so the specific amount is not known, however, we can observe working children in different sectors and we know that this does exist in our country. Among them is the agricultural sector and the domestic sector, which are the most prominent in the country, in fact, most of the children in this condition are seen more in the north, in the coffee harvest,” Tinoco explained.
To provide a response to this social problem, since 2016 World Vision Nicaragua has been running a project on coffee farms in the country so that children and adolescents do not abandon their studies for work. Thanks to this initiative, they receive daily classes taught by volunteers from the project.
“I think that it is better that the children are in a safe place, because in the coffee fields they can be injured or bitten by snakes, and that can be very bad for them”, expressed a girl member of the educational bridges.
“My experience was that I was cutting coffee, it was very sad, my dad got sick, wasps stung me, I was sick, I spent two weeks like this, they took me to a medical center, that way I never cut coffee again. They sent me to the educational bridge so that I could learn more, strengthen myself more and now that I come to school to study the classes seem simpler and it becomes easier for me, I feel in a safe and pleasant environment”, shared another girl member of educational bridges.
This brings multiple benefits to the children and adolescents who participate in these projects, but it also depends on the owners of coffee farms who agree to work hand in hand with this organization to safeguard the physical integrity of children and respect their rights, as well as It is up to the parents to commit to taking their son or daughter to be part of this initiative.
“We have an entry time, but not an exit time, because the educational bridge is closed until the last father arrives to bring his child, and many times the coffee measures last until long hours of the night, when the The coffee harvest is full, it’s ten o’clock at night and we are still waiting for that father who is over there in the coffee plantation to pick up his child. They begin to drop off their children at around three in the morning, the children stay there, we also have small children and there is a space for them to sleep while the sun rises, they are also provided with food everyone, and the classes, so to speak, for the children, are like a reinforcement”, commented Tinoco.
According to Unicef, the covid-19 pandemic has neutralized efforts to eradicate child labor worldwide. This United Nations agency estimates that currently “8.2 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 work in Latin America and the Caribbean. Most of these children are adolescent boys, and 33% are girls.”