Sri Lanka is a signee of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Nonetheless, the child rights situation in the country leaves a lot to be desired. An estimated 900,000 children aged five to 17 engage in child labour activities. Almost ten per cent of these children work in dangerous and unfavourable conditions such as in mines, with chemicals, pesticides or dangerous machinery. Child labour is a common phenomenon among poor families: children are sent to work to support their parents. Many of these children are not able to attend classes and never receive basic education. Boys in rural areas are particularly affected. The government has increased efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour by 2016.
These two girls were homeless and did not go to school. Thanks to the SOS Family Strengthening, they now go to school and their mother has learnt new skills to support them all (photo: SOS archives).