The Little Art in collaboration with Pakistan Workers’ Federation (PWF) hosted an art exhibition of child art on child labour in agriculture in Multan.
The exhibition was held on Wednesday and was attended by Faisal Iqbal, National Project Coordinator, International Labour Organisation, Rana Jamshed Farooq, Director Labour Department Multan, Malik Mukhtar Awan, Pakistan Worker’s Federation, Umair Mushtaq, Senior Manager The Little Art and Saleem Qaiser, Director Multan Arts Council.
Children were invited from all over the country to create artwork on child labour. In Multan and Bahawalpur, The Little Art led workshops with teachers on working with children through art and how to engage them in understanding, the issue of child labour. In response, the child-created created artworks that were on display in the exhibition.
The project is supported by ILO‘s Eliminating Child Labour and Forced Labour in the Cotton, Textile and Garment Value Chains and is co-funded by the EU. Children working in agriculture face various forms of exploitation, including long working hours, hazardous work conditions, and low pay. The problem is exacerbated by poverty and limited access to education, which makes it difficult for families to keep their children out of work. The Pakistani government has taken steps to address the issue by enacting laws that prohibit child labour and promoting education. This project tends to raise awareness of the issue among teachers, schools and the community.
Speaking at the occasion, Saleem Qaiser, Director of Multan Arts Council said, “We are excited to host the child art exhibition for the first time in Multan. It was great to see how the children from government schools of Multan and Bahawalpur created wonderful art works and participated in the exhibition.”
Malik Mukhtar Awan, Pakistan Worker’s Federation expressed, “We are excited that through this project we can work in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan to train teachers on using arts with children to educate them and communities on child labour. We are also supporting schools with art materials so all children can participate and benefit from the project.”
Faisal Iqbal, National Project Coordinator, International Labour Organisation states “I am thankful to PWF and The Little Art for undertaking this grassroots level work with an innovative approach through arts. It is great to see children express themselves creatively through the arts. These are some of the most disadvantaged children but crucial parts of making a long-term sustainable change on the issue of child labour in our communities. I am also thankful to the Multan Arts Council for hosting this wonderful exhibition in the art gallery.”
Umair Mushtaq, Senior Manager, The Little Art in his speech added, “It is a privilege of us to work in this project and engage children from government schools and small private schools as well as communities to express themselves through art on the issue of child labour that is pertinent and needs our attention. Over the past 15 years, our agenda has been to engage children in dialogue on an issue that affects them as a matter of their fundamental right.”