Purpose of Narijibon Blog

Nari Jibon Project seeks to increase our students’ and staffs’ abilities through different ways: classes, practice, computers, internet, and now the Narijibon Blog. Readers and writers (our students & staff) of the Blog will both learn about our lives, culture, Nature, activities of people in Bangladesh and the Nari Jibon Project.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Increasing child labors in Dhaka city/Bangladesh

By Rabbany Sujon

First Published

Almost every month I go to wholesale fish market one or two times in a month that is situated Merul Badda. This wholesale fish market is 10 minutes walking distance from my residence. There are several reasons why I go to buy fish from this market. I can buy fresh fish in cheap prices than the retail kitchen market and I can not go to kitchen market everyday or every week. It also helps me to walk early in the morning. So I like to buy fish from this market.

Two years ago I saw few children used to come to this market. Some of them used to collect wasted fish or small fish that are fallen from the shop or dish. And that’s why they are called “Mas Chur” (thief of fish). Some of them used to help whole seller or retail fish businessmen and earned some money. But recently I am observing that more children are coming to work in this market and day by day their number is increasing.
One wholesale fish businessman informed that they number will be more than 100 hundred and rapidly their number is increasing.
I had also asked him why this number is increasing rapidly and he replied that you know that the living cost of Dhaka increasing rapidly day by day and recent high prices of food items make poor people more vulnerable. So every member of a poor family is trying hard to earn some money.

These children come to this market at about 5.00 am (one hour ago before sunrise) because business starts from 5.30 am to 8.00 am in the morning. During these periods they remain so busy that they have no scope to talk with me. One boy named Khokon about seven years informed that he comes before sunrise in this market. He helps wholesaler and retailer who come to buy fish. Retailer gives him 2 to 5 taka for bearing one basket fish (10 to 20 kg fish). He bears from wholesale shop to retailer spot that is out side of wholesale market near roadside and receive money. Thus he can earn 30 to 60 taka per day. He returns home at about 9.00 am in the morning. He went to school two years in a NGO school but at present he does not go to any school. He has been coming in this market for about last six months.

They are very busy to collect one trip. Two children were waiting to take this trip but one slight aged and (shishu mastan) muscle child took that trip avoiding other two children. They need one basket that's made of bamboo.

After slight raining and at the end of market time I have taken this picture. “Mama (maternal uncle) everyone call us ‘mas chur’(thief of fish) but we don’t steal any fish” said they children. Only three children studied two years to the school but now none of them go to school.

These three girls are searching small or wasted fish beside shops. They informed me that at the end of market time and collecting fish they would sell their collecting fish. Thus they can earn 10 taka to 20 taka per day. But often they are scolded by the fish businessmen and sometimes slight beaten.

There is also heavy competition among the tokai (street children). They also get up early in the morning (at the time of sunrise) and go out to collect wasted papers, packets, plastic bottles and other trashes from the street and dustbin. They can earn 100 to 200 taka per week collecting these. I saw these children in the street at about 6.30 when they were going to collect their goods.

This child is also trying to help her mothers to add slight more earning.

We can also observing that children are working as at railway station as Kuli (labor), small car workshops, factories and small tea shops. These numbers are also increasing but in this age they need to study. But they are struggling to live.