Many children in Asia often start working at a young age. In many cases, they work as housekeeper or labourer at the rice fields and plantations, or end up in working at hazardous places such as mines. At nine, Amrita from Bangladesh left home and work as housemaid at Mrs. Maya’s. Fortunately, Mrs Maya supports Amrita to go to school.
This is a story of two sisters and their mother rebuilding life in a state of India without knowing the local language at first. The mother is a strong woman raising the girls alone, and now she is having a secured job and the two sisters are enrolled in school despite all the challenges.
In India, many children are forced into finding work instead of going to school by their family’s situation. Terre des Hommes Netherlands believes that this is not right, and that children should have access to education and be empowered to realise their dream. Raju, 13, who was a former child miner, has developed himself to become a child rights advocate. Read more about his story.
A fifteen-year-old Savan from Cambodia thought her life was nothing more than being a child labourer at the rice field. Thanks to social worker Prak Vuthea, Savan is now hopeful about her future. This is an inspiring story about a child and her caregiver.
Many under-aged children migrated to find work outside their home country across Southeast Asia. Geographically, it is common for young boys and girls from Laos cross border illegally to Thailand for short-term work. Little need they know there are potential risks they will encounter. A Lao boy named Chai, 14, was one of the migrant workers who ended up being exploited by the employer and was prevented to come back home. The boy’s life was saved and he soon returned to his family through a collaboration across borders between Terre des Hommes Netherlands’ local partners and local authorities.
Early marriage is still an issue in Bangladesh, imposing severe consequences on many young girls’ life. From the moment of marriage, the early married girls are isolated from family and social support. They have limited access to information and sexual and reproductive health services. Sabina is now seventeen years old and already a mother of two. She got married when she was only nine. Despites personal experience, now she was becoming a Changemaker in her community to help other young girls have a brighter future.
Congolese Cathy lost her parents at a very early age. Her stepmother mistreated her, so she went to live with her aunt in Uganda. She ended up working in bars and clubs as a sex worker, but then she met a friend who told her that she could earn a living without engaging in these risky activities.
When her grandmother died, fourteen year old Anne from Uganda was all by herself. A lady offered her a well paying job in Kampala, but after a week she found out that she was working in a brothel. There was no escape. She worked there for a year until one day she met a customer that did not want to have sex her.
Finding justice for the victims of sexual abuse is the goal of Terre des Hommes Netherlands’ Prosecution strategy. To make such achievement, the victims themselves play a prominent role in the process. Dara, now thirteen, was sexually exploited by a foreigner in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Though greatly affected by the horrible experience, Dara was courageous and determined to involve in pursuing legal justice for himself - an inspiring role model for other victims.
Gladness from Tanzania was only thirteen when she lost her parents. She dropped out of school and soon she was working on the streets and depending on her body to survive. Fortunately, she found out about a programme that was helping girls like her.
Parental guidance is the first primary education that a child should receive. Hanna, now fourteen, grew up without her mother’s presence and with a father who spent long hours working. Living on the street side of a market in Indonesia, Hanna was very vulnerable to exploitation, but she was rescued by Terre des Hommes Netherlands’ local partner.
Selamawit is an 18 year old girl from Ethiopia. When she was only fifteen years old she lost her mother and was forced to quit school. To survive she was forced to start working as a prostitute on the streets of a town called Gondar. Thanks to a local child protection organisation her future looks much better now. Read her story.
Climate change has been a threat to rural families’ livelihood which depends entirely on rainfall to grow their crops. Drought and natural disasters are very often seen happen in Palai, a small village in Sekong province of Lao, where a 14-year-old Eurn Rajvong grows up and lives with her big family. There are ten members in Rajvong’s family. As one of the eldest daughters, Rajvong held a responsibility to support her parents earning more income at a young age. Through personal experience working as a child labourer, Rajvong now becomes a youth advocate raising awareness to eliminate child labour in her village.
Gaining access to higher education is a challenge for many girls in Penthakotta, an immigrant community in India, with 8th grade the highest available. In order to continue their education beyond that, the children have to move to another town where they either temporarily live with their relatives or share rooms in hostels. However, unlike boys, the girls are discouraged from moving far away from home, having to end their education and start working at a young age.
One of the most effective approaches to combat child exploitation is to prevent it from happening in the first place, which is what Terre des Hommes Netherlands aims for. In Cambodia, poverty is a major risk factor for exploitation, with a significant number of the total population residing in rural areas experiencing poverty. Many poor families therefore migrate from rural areas to urban centers to seek work and income opportunities, where they involve their young children in helping to earn money, often without fully understanding the potential risks those children face. In such scenarios, parents are among the target groups for our work that contribute to ending all forms of child exploitation.
Former beneficiary Nelson Munyiri is the first ever ambassador for Terre des Hommes Netherlands in East Africa. Hailing from a very vulnerable background, the Nairobits training that he followed with our support, was just the start for developing his many talents. Nelson became Nelmo Newsong the artist. His music has a message, and through his many other activities he shows an equal commitment to promoting child rights and empowering youth.
Driven by poverty, Mwanaid (16) from Tanzania dropped out of school and began working in the goldmines when she was only thirteen years old. Every day she had to crush ore from six o'clock in the morning until nine o'clock in the evening. A dangerous and unhealthy environment for a young girl. Social worker Anthony Louis Mwangake (27) identified her and helped her getting support to stop the exploitative labour. Mwanaid started a vocational training and feels safe again.
Child trafficking has been an urgent issue for Bangladesh to fight against. Children are not only trafficked to places within the country, but many are traded by criminal to neighboring countries - making the rescue of the children even more difficult and slow. Urmi, now 15, a young girl who lived with a single mother was trafficked by a trusted person from Bangladesh to India. Read more about a journey to rescue Urmi back to her home.
Stranded during their migration or on the run from exploitative and abusive situations, many girls in East Africa are being pushed to the streets of the urban centres, where their only means of survival is engaging in commercial sex work. Alemnesh from Ethiopia was only 15 years old when she started 'street work' at night. With our help, she now owns a mini-restaurant which provides for her and her family.
An uncle offered 11-year-old Shatura to pay her school fees. But once Shatura had arrived at her uncle's place in Uganda's capital Kampala, his promise proved to be false. Instead of sending the girl to school, he turned her into a child domestic worker.
Young girls at the Kenyan Coast often see no other way out of deep poverty than to sell their body to tourists. Siti (17 years) used to be one of them, until she got tired of the abuse. With Terre des Hommes Netherlands’ support she managed to stop.
Milembe from Tanzania was only 12 years old when she was married off by her father. The dowry consisted of sixteen cows. Thanks to a community child protection volunteer, the girl was rescued from her marriage. Milembe is now staying in a shelther and has resumed her eduction. However, for safety reasons she cannot return to her family and her village.
Due to poverty and the lack of a social support system, many under-aged children are forced to drop out of school and migrate to urban areas to find work, and many of them would end up being exploited by the employers. At only 17, Jadu, an Indian young boy, found himself in the same situation, but only worse.
Sexual exploitation of children is a growing problem in East Africa. It largely takes place in the slums of big cities and major tourist destinations. Terre des Hommes Netherlands not only helps young victims of sexual exploitation, but also focuses on the prevention of child prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation of children. Sharon (16 years) from Kampala ended up in prostitution. In May 2016 the social workers of our partner St. Elizabeth Girls' Home came to her rescue. Read her story.
Across East Africa, children (mostly girls) are lured to the urban centres under the false promise of getting an education. In reality they end up being exploited as child domestic workers. Azmera Emohay, now 10 years old, was trafficked from rural Amhara Region to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa when she was only 7 years old.
At the age of seventeen Taslima married. She had to quit school and became pregnant. Due to her poor health she had to remove the baby. She was devasted and the insecure Taslima became depressed. But the life of this girl from Bangladesh has changed. Read how she became a confident dressmaker thanks to the help of social worker Zaherul (46).
One of the push factors for children to migrate, is the experience of abuse at home. Runaway children are particularly vulnerable to child trafficking and other forms of child exploitation. Mastewal (15 years) from Ethiopia ended up in child prostitution. She is now doing vocational training as a barber.
Sexual exploitation is strongly linked to child trafficking and the worst forms of child labour. Trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation, is by far the most identified form of trafficking. Child labourers often make the transition into prostitution in order to survive. Specifically girls from very poor backgrounds are prone to becoming victims. Sarah (16 years) from Uganda is a victim of sexual exploitation, as well as child trafficking and the worst forms of child labour.
Nowhere else in Asia are so many girls married under the age of 18 as in Bangladesh. Terre des Hommes is not only working to prevent this, but is one of the few NGOs in the country to help girls who are already married and live in isolation.
Soun Chanthy (15) is one of the best students in her class. She likes going to school in her village in Cambodia, but just from looking at her happy face you can't tell how many obstacles the girl had to overcome to get this far.
Thousands of children are working in the artisanal gold mines of Tanzania. These child labourers are exposed to great dangers, ranging from collapsing mine shafts and toxic gases to injuries caused by tools. Musa Simoni, a 15-year-old boy, is one of these children.
Simon (17) worked in the goldmines of Kahama, Tanzania since he was 13 years old. His parents could not afford to send him to school, so they send him to the dangerous mines. Simon was confroted with violence, the risk of collapsing mines and poisenous gas. With the help of Terre des Hommes he can now go to school. Watch his story.
Getting up at the break of dawn. Cycling 5 kilometres on an old bicycle on rugged roads. Harvesting sugar beets, maize and cassava all day long without shelter from the sun, and then cycling home again. This is what an ordanary day looked like for twelve year old Beng' when she joined her parents to work in the fields. But her life has changed. Now she cycles to school with carrying textbooks under her arm every morning.
Thirteen year old Kannitha is a resilient girl. She is one of many girls in Cambodia who are victim of sexual abuse. With support of the Cambodian Woman Crises Center (CWCC) Kannitha coudl leave her trauma behind. She is now going to school and dreams of a carreer as a teacher.
A small family is supposedly an ideal situation for children to grow up in. Unfortunately, this was not the case for Naga, a 15 year old girl from Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh, India. Her parents only have two children, Naga and her older brother. But, when she was a small child, one traumatic event turned her world upside-down.
In Kenya’s Kwale county, where tourism once flourished, girls and boys increasingly see no other way than offering their bodies for sale. Amid high unemployment and deep poverty the local demand for cheap sex is growing.
When Babes (14) remembers the time she was working as a call girl in front of a webcam, all traumatic experiences resurface. She knows many children who were forced by adults to perform online sexual acts for foreign men.
Jovay is one of many 'real' Sweeties in the Philippines. She lost her parents at a very early age. Orphaned and coming from an impoverished family she is a typical example of a vulnerable girl that was recruited for webcamsex.