Child Labor Robs Children of Their Future
The number of children engaged in child labor has risen to 160 million worldwide, and millions more risk being pushed into the workforce by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Yemen, the number of out-of-school children has doubled since armed conflict escalated in 2015, leaving more than 2 million school-age children out of the classroom, jeopardizing their futures.
In the city of Taizz, in Yemen's southwest, 12-year-old Anas's childhood effectively ended the day his father died. That's when he became his family's sole breadwinner. Working from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. in an iron workshop leaves little time for studying, so Anas was forced to drop out of school. But he is determined that his younger brothers continue their educations so they can fulfill their dreams.
"I stopped studying because there is no one to support my family," he says. "I made my four brothers study ... so that they graduate from universities and get jobs."
"I stopped studying because there is no one to support my family." — Anas, 12
UNICEF is on the ground in Yemen, working with partners to protect children like Anas and his brothers, so they have the opportunity to reach their full potential. In 2021, UNICEF reached 50,000 households in Yemen with multipurpose humanitarian cash transfers, helped 500,000 children access formal or nonformal education and provided 800,000 children with individual learning materials.
“Access to quality education is a basic right for every child, including for girls, displaced children and those with disabilities,” said Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF Representative to Yemen. “The conflict has a staggering impact on every aspect of children’s lives, yet access to education provides a sense of normalcy for children in even the most desperate contexts and protects them from multiple forms of exploitation. Keeping children in school is critical for their own future and the future of Yemen.”
Top photo: 12-year-old Anas cuts iron in a workshop in Taizz, Yemen. © UNICEF/UN0455060/Al-Quliah. Video edited by Tong Su for UNICEF USA