Every June 12, diverse organizations such as ILO and UNICEF celebrate the World Day Against Child Labor, in which there is still much debate about the ways to address the objective of respecting the rights of boys, girls, and adolescents around the world in different cultural and economic contexts.
In this context, understanding that the topic is still up for discussion, Matías Prado, a volunteer from América Solidaria Perú, wrote the following reflection:
“We had to come here. There were no good jobs. One could not earn much money. We rented an “apartment” in the suburban estate of a gentleman with a well-to-do name and there we built a small room. We all stayed inside, as there was not really anywhere else we could go. There were many of us who came to shelter ourselves in those cupboards.” (Gabriel Salazar, Being an abandoned child in Chilean history (19th Century)
This is how the majority of poor neighborhoods in Latin America were constructed and it is in these very same spaces that the abuse and mistreatment of Peruvian children takes place today. The children of these neighborhoods are subjects that their social situation determines due to the conditions of the “nature” to which they are subscribed, developing a false conscience that limits them to a concrete and given reality. That has meant that they have developed as subjects of work limited to their economic conditions, stripped of the most basic necessities needed for their development.
Work being understood as a vital and creative production has turned the childhood of these spaces into a necessary workforce for the economic survival of the family unit. In other words, this creative process has become work for other people as a natural way of life and existence.
But it is from within this productive logic that the continent is shown to us, where today willpower and dedication constitute a network of capital for setting up creative and free-spirited children through naturalized models that will hold onto and support them.
Matías Prado Cabrera
Professional Volunteer from América Solidaria Perú
Graduate in Sociology – Chile