Charbel, the 12 year old boy with a job

Charbel is a 12 year old boy with a job. He works at a hairdresser’s.

After inquiring, the later explained to me that Charbel’s parents are divorced, that he left school at 10 and has been wandering in the streets during the day since then. He came to the hairdresser’s shop asking if he could work there. “What was I to do? Leave him on the streets?” he asked me.

Charbel can’t stand in his place; like any boy of his age. He needs to play but he’s there for work. I noticed that he also has violent moments. Although he learned to be courteous with the clients, I saw him hit a fellow employee on his forehead. The team used violent language to explain to him why his act is wrong and what is likely to happen if he does it again.

My heart went sore. A 10 year old boy should be in school, learning, playing and having  fun. Who are we to steal his priceless childhood? What if he was your own child? The government is hoping to raise responsible, educate and aware citizens. Who is responsible for Charbel’s future? Who will protect him until he’s old enough to be responsible for himself? How many Charbels are there out there? To whom can he turn to if he’s ever in trouble?

The law categorically prohibits the employment of children who have not completed thirteen years and requires a medical certificate proving that a child above thirteen is fit for the job he is hired to perform. – Hello? What law when it is not reinforced? 🙁

What is the Unit for Combat of Child Labour and the media doing?

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