Due to the increase in prevalence of school drop-outs, which is often associated with child labour, the Syrian Society for Social Development (SSSD), in cooperation with UNHCR, conducted an awareness campaign entitled "Return to School, and the Dangers of Child Labour" within the Child Protection Programme in Beit al-Salam Center - Al-Hama, Rural Damascus.
The campaign was carried out after the outreach volunteers (ORVs) observed the high prevalence of school dropout. The children of the Child Protection Club visited the area's shops to convey several messages to employers and professionals. These messages included highlighting children's rights, emphasizing the responsibility of employers to protect and preserve their rights, choosing appropriate jobs for them, and not stressing and exploiting them. The children focused on the role of employers in helping them stay in school, persuading them to return to school, and helping them in their work in case they had to stay.
The professionals welcomed the children of the Protection Club, and showed a great interest in the messages addressed to them. They stressed out on the importance of supporting them as children who are responsible for their community, and are able to communicate the voice of their peers and express their needs.
The owner of the crystal and aluminum profession told us that he employed children and taught them his profession. He made sure not to stress them, and prevented them from carrying large pieces of glass that could put them at risk. He also said that he would be more careful after the children alerted him of the risk of carrying glass panels of any size.
The mechanic also said that he had a child working at the shop, and that he was sometimes hard on him in order to teach him the profession in a masterly manner. After the discussion between him and the children, he told us that he would take care of the child without exposing him to stress or danger, and most importantly reduce his winter working hours to enable him to attend school.
At the end of the campaign, everyone's interaction was positive and significant.