Each year on 12th June, people around the world join hands to mark the World Day Against Child Labour. As I write, 168 million girls and boys are still engaged in child labour, 85 million of them in hazardous work. For several years now, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and WOSM have worked to promote the World Day Against Child Labour, encouraging Scout organizations worldwide to undertake joint activities and initiatives in support of the cause. This year, the World Day Against Child Labour draws attention to the role of social protection in keeping children out of child labour and removing them from it.
Through outreach programmes to children at risk and/or with particular needs, Scouts have demonstrated their potential to help combat child labour. In Kenya 1,200 Scouts reached out to over 6,000 street children or children living in difficult circumstances and taught them life skills and vocational skills through engaging them in Scouting. In Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka, through Scouting, the Ticket to Life project raises awareness of child rights and integrates street children into society. Meanwhile in Egypt, Scouts in Alexandria have been running a unit in the industrial areas of the city for children and youth working in factories. These are just a few examples of how youth can bring energy, ideas and action to reinvigorate global action to end child labour.
Once again this year, we call out to all Scouts to join forces to organize activities and events to raise awareness and mobilize action. We strongly encourage you to join the global Music Against Child Labour Initiative, coordinated by the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), by dedicating songs and concerts to the campaign.
As I like to “walk the talk”, I will continue to work with marginalized children, helping them to have a new beginning to their lives. This is something that has always been very close to my heart. Let’s all stand together to make the world a better place, particularly for children.
Scott A. Teare
Secretary General, World Organization of the Scout Movement