Rome (Italy). Playing and going to school are the rights of children. The Pope repeats that “many children in the world do not have the freedom to play, to go to school, and end up being exploited as laborers”. Pope Francis has repeatedly called for the International Community to promote the effective recognition of the rights of the child, to weaken this plague, and to say: “children must be able to play, studying, praying, and growing in their families. Woe to those who make them slaves “.
The World Day was established in 2002 by the International Labor Organization (ILO), to raise awareness in global attention on the exploitation of child labor and to undertake and monitor the actions to be carried out to overcome this phenomenon of particular gravity that afflicts various parts of the world.
According to the data elaborated by the ILO, a United Nations agency that promotes internationally recognized human rights, especially those related to work, the number of child workers worldwide is around 218 million. Children, boys and girls from 5 to 17 are employed in underpaid jobs that are often health-threatening, which in time wear out their body and destroy their mind. This fact is concentrated in the poorest countries in the world such as Africa, Asia, and South America where the phenomenon, cause and consequence of the poverty of the territories, compromises the long-term development of these Countries.
“Too often in the world, children who are exploited are employed in dangerous jobs or in unsafe working conditions. Europe and Italy are not exempt from this: especially when the child is left alone, it is easier to be trapped in the networks of exploitation We are all called to break these chains to counteract any form of abuse, in the awareness that the youngest especially must be able to fully develop their abilities”. According to the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, “the school – the first institution that children meet – remains an essential defense against the denial of child rights and is therefore the best ally of children and young people in building their future”.
The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in their educational mission strongly support the thought of Pope Francis: “This is a real slavery! (…) All children must be able to play, study, pray, and grow in their families, and this in a harmonious context of love and serenity. It is their right and our duty. So many people instead of making them play, enslave them: this is a scourge. A serene childhood allows children to look with confidence towards life and tomorrow. Woe to those who suffocate in them the joyful momentum of hope! “
Each Educating Community is therefore called upon to disseminate a message of awareness, so that all school-age children can access education as a form of knowledge, emancipation, and social redemption.