“The topic of child labor is a multi-dimensional one that requires a comprehensive approach for its prevention and elimination,” Peña began at a panel discussing best practices in combating child labor at Partners' recent convention.
Not too long ago, Alex, 7, and Josseline, 6, spent their afternoons working in a field, grazing cows and collecting grass to feed pigs and guinea pigs. One of their most common tasks, as it is for other children in Chordeleg, Azuay, Ecuador, was recollecting toquilla straw. The material is used to create Panamanian hats which are very popular among local workers and tourists.
The two devastating large-scale earthquakes that rattled Ecuador’s coast over this past week and left villages in ruins were the deadliest the country experienced since 1987.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, an estimated 13 million children are involved in child labor. Many of them come from poor, low-educated families, aren’t enrolled in school and endure dangerous working conditions. Often, they work for their families, whose economic survival depends on the additional income their children bring in.
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When Mateo and Kevin first started attending Espacios Para Crecer (EpC), an after-school program led by Partners of the Americas’ Proyecto EducaFuturo, life changed for their entire family.
Two brothers in a family of 6, Mateo and Kevin grew up in La Dolorosa, Ecuador, a poor, low-educated neighborhood where few opportunities exist for families to find work. Faced with severe economic pressure, families who do manage to secure work often rely on their children to work as well, in order to earn enough for the family to live on.
26-year-old Coach Uses Lessons from Sports-based Exchange in Life and with Team
Vanessa Arauz has blazed a trail of firsts leading up to becoming head coach of Ecuador’s Women’s National Soccer Team.
As a child, she was the only girl on her local soccer teams in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She is the first female soccer coach certified by the Ecuadorian Soccer Federation’s official coaches training center. Now, she leads Ecuador in it’s first-ever Women’s World Cup appearance and, at 26, is the youngest coach to ever head a World Cup team.
Child labor in Ecuador and Panama is prominent in the most vulnerable and socially excluded sectors: indigenous and Afro-descendant populations. These two populations account for a high incidence of poverty, social exclusion, employment and lack of education, which also explains why they are most at risk of child labor. The numbers are stark.