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Joining forces to protect and support children in East-Amman

According to the last calculations, which date from 2016, about 76.000 children are active in child labour in Jordan. But these numbers are outdated. WNCB works in East Amman, where children are amongst others working in the recycling industry. At the landfills, they employ kids to take parts out of old cars, like the iron and copper. The children work with toxic waste and materials, what results in different health issues on the long term.

Safe spaces to develop skills

WNCB partners Save the Children and JOHUD are joining forces to protect and support children who are of were active in child labour. In the JOHUD center, children are welcomed in a safe space where they’re taught different skills, can talk about their challenges, meet others with the same background, make friends and just have fun. The programme also targets parents and caregivers, on raising awareness and guiding them on how to provide a safe and healthy environment for their children and enabling them to grow and develop.

Sixteen-year-old Sami lives in Amman and is refugee from Iraq. He and his family arrived in Jordan in 2014. The family was planning to move to the USA, but COVID made that impossible. They thought they would have better chances there.

Sami’s father died. His mother has a medical issue, that makes walking difficult for her. Because he wanted to help his mother by providing for the family, Sami started working in a small coffeeshop along the road when he was still a child.

The boy had a hard time there. Besides working many hours for little payment, the costumers didn’t tread him well; he was discriminated for being Iraqi. One time, a man scolded him and attacked him with a knife, his hand was bleeding heavily, and the shop owner had to bring him to the ER. After the attack, Sami’s oldest brother decided that he should stop working and got him in touch with the programme.

“Math, Arab, English are my favorite subjects. In the future, I want to help my uncle in his car business.”

Supporting children and youth to return to school

UNICEF Jordan and NGO ROWAD are working in East Amman together to protect children who drop out of school and support them to return and complete their education.

Thirty-six-year-old Alla works as a life coach and teacher in de ROWAD-Centre. “Child labour is a big issue here in Jordan,” she says. Alla teaches skills that kids between the age of 13 and 17 need, which include communication skills and improving their level of confidence. She also works with parents and caregivers in guiding them how to support their children.

“Most children here in the Centre are or have been going through child labour. We teach them how to talk about their experiences, which are often not positive. We also teach them about their rights, because many of them have no idea what their rights are. And we teach them how to speak up when harm is being done to them.

The children become more aware about these topics, and they become more confident. When they’ve been in the programme for a while, parents often tell us that they notice their child has gotten a stronger personality. They can defend themselves, so no one can take their rights anymore.”

Photos by Mo’awia Bajis

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