A wake-up call for NGOs working against child labour
It is indeed hard to believe, but it is true! A ten-year-old boy, Shehryar, is living in the capital, hundreds of kilometres away from his family, to pay the debt of Rs50,000 in installments incurred on his elder sister’s wedding in Sargodha.
The minor boy toils at the shop of a motorcycle mechanic in Sector G-9’s I&T Centre from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for earning Rs50 per day.
He goes to his hometown – Sargodha – after every two months for a week. He remains in contact with his mother on telephone when he is in Islamabad. Talking to INFN, he said: “I cannot sleep at night when for one reason or the other I fail to talk to my mother on telephone for several days at a stretch.”
Shehryar was in grade 2 when his father died. He supports his family, comprising his mother and three sisters, financially. His mother does odd jobs in houses to make both ends meet.
In Islamabad, he is living in the house of his married sister.
Talking to INFN, Naeem, the owner of the motorcycle repair shop, said that Shehryar is a hardworking and honest boy, and he concentrates on work assigned to him. “Shehryar is quite touchy when it comes to his family. At times, he gets worried after talking to his mother on telephone,” he said.
Shehryar has a ‘suppressed passion’ for acquiring education. “I want to attend school, but I have a problem that I cannot quit my work. I dream about continuing both these tasks simultaneously,” he said with a certain amount of logic in his argument.
It remains to be seen whether Shehryar would be able to clear the debt of his family and would he gather strength to acquire education together with working at the motorcycle repair shop.
As for now, Shehryar is a test case for all those high-profile NGOs working against child labour in Pakistan. firstname.lastname@example.org