DAMASCUS (ILO News) – The Syrian cities of Damascus, Aleppo, and Tartous hosted a “Week of Action” against child labour which took place between the 9th and 15th of June and saw over 700 children participate in artistic events from drama to painting. Many of the participants were former child labourers, beggars, and street hawkers who had attended a series of ILO-led events and training sessions as part of the ILO SCREAM Programme – a programme which works to defend children’s rights through education, art, and media with a focus on child labour.
Activities were designed to allow children to apply the expressive and creative skills that they learned as part of which works on reintegration of children who have been subjected to child labour through drama, creative writing, music, visual arts, and media. Children performed plays expressing the problem of child labour, in order to raise awareness around the prevalence of child labour in Syria.
Painting and photo collage sessions were also held within juvenile reformatories to stimulate visual and artistic expressions on the topic of children's rights, especially child labour, as well as to promote a better understanding of the invisible nature of children's work. In the capital, a free artistic event culminated in a mural about child labour in one of Damascus’ public parks.
Throughout this special week, events and activities also provided an opportunity to discuss the new ILO-UNICEF global estimates and trends on child labour and showcase progress on the implementation of International Year “2021 Action Pledges.”
The events were led by young artists, NGOs facilitators, and volunteers who used their creative skills to assist children to express their rights, work to eliminate child labour, and induce lasting change in the attitudes and behaviours of society. Particular emphasis was placed on eliminating the Worst Forms of Child Labour, in line with Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182).