Friday, September 2, 2011

Child labour in the potato fields in Lebanon

This is a short documentary by Christine Habib on child labour in the potato fields in Lebanon. Kids of under 10 toil 8 hours under the sun for 6,000 pounds ($4) a day. Last September, Lucile Garcon and I published a couple of articles in Le Monde Diplomatique on the women and children who work the potato fields and we co-produced an 25 minutes movie called Warshe on the same topic. The program uses a bag of chips as an excellent entry point and tries to reflect on the difference between urban and rural kids. In the interview, the minister of labour wants to do something about it, like preventing the work of kids during summer. Of course, kids should not do adult work for a pitance. But there are many issues here: one of them is that in the absence of a system that provides social opportunities for children and youth, and a little bit of money as pocket money, and good free schooling (one of the kids said he saves the money to help pay for schooling in Syria), this will just make things worse. The system that pushes kids toil to be able to buy a bag of chips or to pay for school supplies has to be crushed. This is not done by just preventing kids from working. Anyway, go implement that and let me know how far you get.

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