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Saint Conrad
1947: Birth of Brother Seán Sammon, 12th Superior General

Marist Calendar - November

Exploitation must be eradicated through education



June 12: World Day Against Child Labour

12/06/2008: General House

The idea of dedicate one day to highlight the efforts made for the eradication of economic exploitation of children was a proposal of the International Labor Organization (ILO). From the year 2003, June 12th was chosen as the day to know, to reflect about and to disseminate the risks that children face in economic activities that are inadequate for their age and development.

Due this reflection occurs within the framework of human rights of children and adolescents, it is convenient to make a reference to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), adopted by the General Assembly of United Nations on November 20th, 1989. This Convention declares that people under 18 must be “protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the childs education, or to be harmful to the childs health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development” (CRC, Art. 32). This protection must be ensured, mainly, by the States, but also by the different actors in the society.

Childhood and adolescence is a time where education, the formation and development of abilities, the discovery and knowledge of the world through games, cultural activities and interaction with the others, play a fundamental role for the comprehensive development of each one. Due to the situation of poverty that they face, together with their families, many children are compelled to change education and play for working activities. Those children that were private of the education, those that learned less in the school due to the fatigue or dropped out school because they must dedicate more time to work than to study… years later, will continue caught in the vicious circle of poverty. They will be adults living in conditions that do not correspond to their dignity.

This year, the ILO invites us to look at the education as a mean to fight against the economic exploitation of children. We, Marists, believe that good education is that one that takes into consideration minds and spirit, brains and hearts, and it is necessary to become good Christians and honest citizens. We believe that all people are entitled to an education founded in love, that allows them to develop themselves until the maximum of their possibilities, as it is also stated in the CRC (Art. 29). Our institutions are committed in offering this education to the different sectors of our societies in all countries were we have a presence.

We invite you today to dedicate some minutes to think about the situation of children and adolescents without education that live situations of risk been employed in activities that are inadequate to their size and age. And we invite you to write a message of hope and of commitment for them and with them. Will you do that?

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