By Patrick QuinnThe tenth annual World Day Against Child Labour, with the theme ‘Human Rights and social justice: Let’s end child labour’, is on 12 June 2012. An important part of the day’s message is that tackling child labour can also be an important step in ensuring children’s access to education – itself a human right... read more >>
From October to May, Jyontna works in the desolate salt pans of western India, where her parents earn their living raking salt crystals from the ground. The cracked, dry seabed stretches endlessly in every direction. Jyontna and her parents arrive when the monsoons end and the waters recede from the vast plain. Her two younger brothers stay behind in their village, a seven-hour walk from the salt pans.
Jyotna dropped out of school at the age of 10 to help her parents. Now 15 years old, she says that her mother could not afford to let all three children study, so she picked her daughter to work with her. As a result, Jyontna can barely read or write. “My brothers, they will study. They can hope for different things,” she says. “What can I be?”
This story will sound familiar to many around the world concerned with girls’ access to education. It also vividly illustrates the interrelated challenges of addressing child labour and promoting the right of all children to education.