"Thanks to the Fund Against Child Labour, we can give children a future"
ADMC Group, a Dutch company, has its medical equipment made in Egypt. This process causes a lot of waste. Local research shows that children often collect, sort and recycle this waste. This is dangerous work, which stops children from going to school. Sara Benjamin from ADMC Group talks about the El Kassib project that combats child labour.
In El Zabaleen, an impoverished district of Cairo, waste is not processed by a company. It is done in people's homes. Many fathers get their children to do some of the most demanding work. This means that children come into contact with toxic waste. There are no measures to ensure that the air they breathe and the work they carry out are clean and safe. And because they have to work, the children do not go to school. Sara Benjamin explains, "Under Egyptian law, this is allowed because children are their parents' property. Waste disposal is a quick way to make money, while a child would otherwise spend all day in class at school. With no other way to earn money, parents do not see why they should send their children to school instead of putting them to work."
"Thanks to the primary school track, children aged 5 to 13 can go back to school"
Change through El Kassib
Sara continues, "To help change this, we spoke to the government and other organisations. Our primary school track means children aged 5 to 13 return to school. Children aged 14 to 17 are given training to help them work quickly and safely. The families' lack of money was at the heart of the problem. That is why we taught parents to earn money in other ways. For example, by working with textiles and jewellery. The parents now sell their products locally. We gave fathers sturdy trolleys to collect the waste without help from their children. We also taught them safer and cleaner working methods and talked to them about the importance of education."
ADMC's approach in El Zabaleen
Working with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency
Sara says, 'With financial support from the Fund Against Child Labour (FBK), we changed the neighbourhood and can now give children a future. We never thought we could do so much. Thanks to the El Kassib project, 922 boys and 460 girls from El Zabaleen now attend school. The seminars and workshops gave us the tools to divide a huge problem into small pieces for us to tackle. There is still much work to be done, but we have made a good start."
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs