Children address the issue of Child Labour in agriculture in an art exhibition in Multan

Student artists of Bahawalpur and Multan presented thematic artworks highlighting the menace of Child Labor.

Pakistan (Muhammad Yasir)

Child labor in agriculture is a serious issue in Pakistan. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), over 10 million children in Pakistan are engaged in child labor, with a significant portion of them working in the agriculture sector.

The Little Art in collaboration with Pakistan Workers’ Federation hosted an art exhibition of child art on child labour in agriculture in Multan. The exhibition was held on 1 Feb and was attended by Faisal Iqbal, National Project Coordinator, International Labour Organisation, Rana Jamshed Farooq, Director Labour Department Multan, Malik Mukhtar Awan, Pakistan Worker’s Federation, Umair Mushtaq, Senior Manager The Little Art and Saleem Qaiser, Director Multan Arts Council.

Children were invited from all over the country to create art works on child labour. In Multan and Bahawalpur, The Little Art led workshops with teachers on working with children through art and how to engage them understanding the issue of child labour. In response child crated artworks that we on display in the exhibition.

The project is support by ILO’s Eliminating Child Labour and Forced Labour in the Cotton, Textile and Garment Value Chains and is co-funded by the EU.

Speaking at the occasion, the guests shared the following;

Saleem Qaiser, Director Multan Arts Council
“We are excited to host the child art exhibtion for the first time in Multan. It was great to see how the children from government schools of Multan and Bahawalpur created wonderful works on art and participated in the exhibition.”

Rana Jamshed, Director Labour Department Multan
Malik Mukhtar Awan, Pakistan Worker’s Federation
“We are excited that through this project we are able to work in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan to train teachers on using arts with children to educate them and communities on child labour. We are also supporting schools with art materials so all children can participate and benefit from the project.”

Faisal Iqbal, National Project Coordinator, International Labour Organisation
” I am thankful to PWF and The Little Art for undertaking this grassroots level work with innovative approach through arts. It is great to see children expressing creatively through arts. These are some of the most disadvantaged children but crucial part of making a long term sustainable change on the issue of child labour in our communities. I am also thankful to Multan Arts Council for hosting this wonderful exhibtion in the art gallery.”

Umair Mushtaq, Senior Manager, The Little Art
“It is a privilege of us to work in this project and engage children from government schools and small private schools as well and communities to express themselves through art on the issue of child labour that is pertinent and needs our attention. Over the past 15 years, our agenda has been to engage children in dialogue on issue that affect them as a matter of their fundamental right.”  

Children working in agriculture face various forms of exploitation, including long working hours, hazardous work conditions, and low pay. The problem is exacerbated by poverty and limited access to education, which makes it difficult for families to keep their children out of work. The Pakistani government has taken steps to address the issue by enacting laws that prohibit child labor and promoting education. This project tends to raise awareness on the issue among teachers, schools and community.