Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: The darker side of glittering bangles  (Read 3908 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
jannah
Administrator
Hero Member
*****

Reputation Power: 277
jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!
Gender: Female
Posts: 7134


I heart the Madina


WWW
« on: Oct 05, 2008 08:38 AM »


Interesting what she says. We should stop buying them inshaAllah. -- J.

===================================================

PAKISTAN: The darker side of glittering bangles

29-09-2008

LAHORE, (IRIN): Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the Muslim month of fasting, provides an annual boost for the glass bangles' industry, but behind the glittering bangles lies another story - one of child labour, poverty, deprivation and hardship.

Nine-year-old Muhammad Rizwan, who is employed at a workshop in a congested alley in Lahore, polishes, sorts and packs piles of glass bangles. He is one of four small boys engaged at the workshop. Their hours of work increase as Eid approaches.

"Usually we work eight or nine hours a day. At busy times like this we work for up to 16," said Rizwan, as his 11-year-old cousin, Muhammad Fayyaz, looked on. Both boys are from Sahiwal, 160km southwest of Lahore, and were brought to the workshop by a relative. They each earn around 1,000 rupees (about US$13) a month.

"Our parents are very poor. We have to work, though I would like to go to school," said Fayyaz. "If the workshop owner is happy with our work he may give us some extra money and then our parents will be happy. Maybe they will buy us new shoes for Eid," he said.

Pakistan's huge glass bangle industry is centred on the city of Hyderabad, Sindh Province, and most production is for the domestic market. Dawn newspaper in May 2007 estimated that some 7,000 boys and 3,000 girls worked in the industry nationwide. The International Labour Organization (ILO) reckons 30,000 families are supported by the industry.

Study

An Occupational Health and Safety study in the glass bangles' industry commissioned by the ILO for the government's Centre for Improvement of Working Conditions and Environment found children worked an average of nearly 12 hours a day.

The study highlighted the risks of working in proximity to the furnaces used in the moulding and joining processes, and also from toxic chemicals during coating and painting. Children would sit hunched for hours over hot stoves while shaping the trinkets, putting their health at risk, it said.

"I no longer wear bangles because I have seen the terrible conditions these children work in," said Raheela Abbas, 22, a student who visited Hyderabad several years ago for a sociology research project.

NGO calls for action

The glass bangle industry is just one sector of the economy exploiting child labour: Some 3.3 million children aged 5-14, according to the Pakistan government's Federal Bureau of Statistics, are engaged in full-time work. Non-governmental organisations such as the Islamabad-based SPARC (Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child) reckon 8-10 million children are thus employed.

"The childhood of these children is taken away from them. SPARC believes that child labour must be eliminated; it is not enough to educate children within the workplace," Fazila Gulrez, SPARC's national manager for promotions, told IRIN.


Gulrez attributed the continuing existence of child labour to the current levels of social acceptance, adding: "The notion that poverty is a cause is inaccurate. In fact child labour itself leads to poverty and creates a vicious circle. The high drop-out rate from schools, with 50 percent leaving education within the first five years of primary education, also contributes to child labour."


There appears to be a widespread lack of awareness about child labour in the manufacture of bangles. "I had no idea small children made these," said Uzma Waseem, 32, buying bangles for her three daughters at a shop in Lahore.

Others, such as bangle salesman Fahim Beg, defend the use of child labour: "I know there are workshops in Lahore. It is sad children have to work there but at least their labour helps feed families".

It is attitudes like these that SPARC is trying to change.


http://www.muslimnews.co.uk/news/news.php?article=14934
blackrose
Sis
Hero Member
*

Reputation Power: 3
blackrose has no influence :(
Gender: Female
Posts: 1649



« Reply #1 on: Oct 06, 2008 05:47 AM »

salaam

child labor is unfortuantely a huge problem. everywhere. the fact that the bangle industry is so big is probably why there are more children working there. But its all very sad. And its very hard to determine what to boycott. we have to basically boycott everything in america bc of israelis and then all the other stuff you buy that is imported can most def be done from child labor, there is even child labor in america as I recently heard:(
I think we can help by fighting against these things thru amnesty.org
Faizah
Sis
Sr. Member
*

Reputation Power: 3
Faizah has no influence :(
Gender: Female
Posts: 365



« Reply #2 on: Oct 06, 2008 12:29 PM »

As salaamu alaikum

So sad and so true; if we knew where things actually came from or who was making them we'd probably never buy anything and instead either make stuff ourselves or just do without it.  I don't know which bothers me more - the harsh factory conditions in general; the low wages paid to most in such settings; that children are employed in such conditions;  that poverty forces children to go to work to help their families survive in the present rather than going to school to help elevate their families out of poverty in the future; or even that by the time the merchandise gets to market the price has been elevated so much that the very people who are making the items cannot afford to purchase them.

Fa'izah
Baji
Sis
Full Member
*

Reputation Power: 33
Baji is working their way up :)Baji is working their way up :)Baji is working their way up :)
Gender: Female
Posts: 176



« Reply #3 on: Nov 05, 2008 02:23 PM »

Salaams
I read your post and remember my dad telling me this too. being brought up here in London, we forever see info telling us not to buy stuff produced from child labour, and my dad (from Pakistan) used to tell me that actually these products were the only thing keeping thousands of people mostly children alive to this day when i go to Pakistan i try to find charities that allow children to work and study at the same time. Unfortunately these are v few and far between.

Baji
jannah
Administrator
Hero Member
*****

Reputation Power: 277
jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!
Gender: Female
Posts: 7134


I heart the Madina


WWW
« Reply #4 on: Nov 06, 2008 01:57 AM »

wsalam,

I think the article's point is that it's a cycle. Child laborers are so poor and never get education/trades and they grow up to be the parents of child laborers. It's like people who live in some ghettos, young teenage single mothers, drugs, whatever. They just can't break the cycle. It keeps happening generation after generation. I'm sure they say the same thing "we need to sell drugs to survive, etc". The person in the article is saying if we stop the cycle then we won't be creating the problem. Another situation to analyze, Muslims in the US who own corner stores that continue to sell alcohol, lotto tickets, cigarettes. Forgetting the haram issue, they also say they "need" to sell it in order to survive. If we stopped buying those things wouldn't they go out of business and have to find something else?

If ppl stopped buying the bangles the demand would go down and then maybe some parents would realize a few quick bucks here and there will not help their family and they would send them for education and trade. 

Faizah
Sis
Sr. Member
*

Reputation Power: 3
Faizah has no influence :(
Gender: Female
Posts: 365



« Reply #5 on: Nov 06, 2008 02:50 AM »

As salaamu alaikum

Yes it is a cycle but the better way to break the cycle is not only through education for the children but in jobs that pay an actual living wage for the adults.  When I read about child laborers it breaks my heart but also makes me want to shake the children that live in the US who do nothing but complain about what they don't have and refuse to do well in school when the reality is they have an easy life by comparision to children that have no choice but to work just so that their families can survive and would give anything to be able to go to school and would actually appreciate it.  So while people could stop buying the bangles or anything else made by child laborers or grossly underpaid workers because we find it inhumane  I think it would be even more inhumane to take away their only source of income.

The generational welfare cycle is being broken through legislation but it is something that would have never happened if men were responsible for the children they produce.  The street level drug dealer isn't the one making the big bucks; that's merely survival money but carries a high risk factor whereas the ones making the money have little of the risk.

I guess in some ways the issues faced by Muslims in the West that work or own businesses is similar; they often do or engage in things that go against Islam but it is for survival's sake and to earn a living.  The only way that a corner store that doesn't sell alcohol or tobacco or lottery tickets could survive is if it is located in a Muslim community; otherwise absent those items it would not make any money.  Many Muslim women would probably rather not work or at least not work as hard but they have no choice in the matter so they do what they must also for their own survival.

Fa'izah
tq
Sis
Sr. Member
*

Reputation Power: 18
tq has no influence :(
Gender: Female
Posts: 381


« Reply #6 on: Nov 06, 2008 01:33 PM »

Assalamo elikuim
Sr. Jannah its not that the parents of these children dont know the importance of education, most of them dont have the means, in most cases they dont have money to buy food everyday.
I agree with Br.Timbuktu and Sr.Faizah. To break the cycle, what would help is either parents getting better wages or maybe some relatives giving money(either zaakat or sadaqa or may qarz-e-hasna) to the family to help out.
Its like saying women shouldnt be working because of free mixing neglecting family etc but no body comes forward to help them when they dont have father,husband to rely on and they need income to survive .

Wasalam
tq
a_desert_rose
Sis
Sr. Member
*

Reputation Power: 0
a_desert_rose has no influence :(
Gender: Female
Posts: 310



« Reply #7 on: Nov 06, 2008 11:08 PM »

Assalamualaikum,

Even if we stopped buying the bangles and sales went down, the parents would just find another place for their children to work. We ideally need the government to act, after all these things were prevalent here in Britain and other 'modern' nations but they've been abolished through people's actions.

Quote
Mother had a dream - that her children would be educated, and Allah (swt) fulfilled her dream, alhamdulillah. All her nine children, except one, who was prone to accidents in the head and lost quite a lot of blood that way, have had education upto masters at least. All own their own houses. All have their own cars. And all practice Islam.

Brother timbuktu, every mother that has children working in these trades needs to think and dream like your mother, may Allah bless her.

Wassalam
a_desert_rose
timbuktu
Guest
« Reply #8 on: Nov 07, 2008 06:19 AM »

peace be upon you

Thank you all for the responses to my story. I have removed my posts here because perhaps I talked too much about myself. The point has been made that child labor helps families survive, and unless societies act to remove extreme poverty, the problem of hunger will not be solved.
jannah
Administrator
Hero Member
*****

Reputation Power: 277
jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!jannah is awe-inspiring mA!
Gender: Female
Posts: 7134


I heart the Madina


WWW
« Reply #9 on: Nov 07, 2008 07:48 AM »

Salam,

That's a shame br timbuktu. Those were very inspirational stories. Your mother sounds like an amazing person ma'shallah. She sacrificed everything so that her children would be educated and would break out of the cycle.

I just fear that it's all too easy to depend on children to support the family. I know of families in India who just have more children in order to support all their children! Wealth is seen in terms of children because they can work to bring in money for the family. If people were forced to see that only education brought in money I wonder how the society there would change.

I wonder how people feel about giving money to begging children. Do we give them money so this practice continues? Many are orphans and part of 'begging gangs'. They are starving too and supporting themselves in this manner. But by doing that we continue the cycle of these gangs forming and making begging institutional and some even go as far as causing damage to these children in order to make more money.

Some people say well if we don't buy their things they would starve. Prostitutes too might starve if there was no one buying their services. Should people continue to do so because otherwise they would starve? These arguments are double-edged swords. But prostitution is wrong, some might say...and child labour... isn't? Child labour is exploitive. It's ugly. There's usually violence and slavery and horrible work conditions involved.

If people stopped buying them the economics would change. No doubt about it. We can all sit back and say well it's the governments duty to stop this. It's not our responsibility and we are supporting the kids. You may *think* you are supporting the kids but what you're doing is supporting the whole corrupt system.

I think as responsible human beings we need to look deeper than 'oh these kids are starving, we have to give them money and buy their labors-work'.  Perhaps we should be giving money to organizations working to end these things instead of buying certain items and we definitely should be working to eliminate poverty the root cause of these problems.

This is possibly a very interesting discussion... more thoughts more thoughts!! Smiley


timbuktu
Guest
« Reply #10 on: Nov 07, 2008 10:53 AM »

peace be upon you

You think so?

Perhaps then I will repost them.

Yes, my mother's life is one I had long thought I would write about. Perhaps a novel, perhaps a biography. But one or another problem came up, and it got postponed. Now when I have time, and the cataract in one eye has been operated upon, I live away from her, and in any case, now I cannot understand what she says. She is 92 now, and may go any time.

Her story began with her very rich and refined mother, who was remarkable in her own right, and who set my mother on the path to education. At that time, when even boys of means were going illiterate, she hired a tutor to teach her daughter at home. My mother had the top Urdu magazines in India delivered to her every month. Some of those survive in my brother's collection. You would be amazed at what my mother endured - the poverty when her mother died and my maternal grandfather remarried and took control of all inheritance, and the stepmother sent her stepdaughters to their sister, where she cared for her newly born nephew and lived in awe of her brother-in-law. Her marriage (with by now a substantial jahez, again assmebled and left for her by her mother. Her father had come round to accepting some responsibility). The in-laws' taunts and intrigues, and how she convinced my father to build a house. Then within a year or two, convincing him to abandon India and go to Pakistan. And then the ups and downs in this country. I experienced some of those ups and downs, highly cushioned for me, as the entire family hid the problems from me. My response to sustained problems of my own, I am ashamed to say, was not that of a brave person. It is not bravery to want to or try to die. Bravery is in facing adversity with dignity. The sort you may have noticed in my review of The Spy Princess. That woman, Noor Hidayat Khan, was brave. My mother is brave. I am not. My mother persevered, when everyone was rejoicing that her family was now consigned to poverty for ever and ever. Even now when she cannot stand up by herself, she supervises the cook in my sister's house.

If you want to see true love, look into her face when one of her children is around. I think she may not be unique in this, and every mother wears the same look when she sees her child.

I am the black sheep of the family, and the cause of much problems for my mother, but not once has she cursed me.
shaa-ista
Sis
Newbie
*

Reputation Power: 0
shaa-ista has no influence :(
Gender: Female
Posts: 17


« Reply #11 on: Nov 07, 2008 12:10 PM »

Salaams Br. Timbuktu

I only have access to the internet at work, so the other day when I read your story I was extremely moved by all the events in your life and how you , your mother and your family survivied through very toough times.  I actually printed the story as well as the one about the bangles and took it home so that my 10 year old son could read it out loud to the family.  I wanted him to see that there are thousands of kids in the world that make do with extremely little, yet are willing to work inorder to help their families.  Also to appreciate the fact he has two parents who work as well as a doting grandmother who would give him the world if she could.  He was a bit sad after reading the story but I think it gave him alot of food for thought, and for that I am extremely thankful to you for sharing it with us.
timbuktu
Guest
« Reply #12 on: Nov 07, 2008 02:08 PM »

peace be upon you

Thanks, sister sha-ista. I am convinced by your post.  I will repost this part of my life.

Tell your son not to be sad. Although I did not fulfil my own dream: to take a doctorate in Chemistry under Linus Pauling in California, I do have a doctorate - in Chemical Engineering. And although I did not get a Nobel Prize in Chemistry Smiley, (as my teachers at Dacca University thought I would), I hope that my work, however humble and however unpublished, will be rewarded in the Hereafter. That is what I want, most of all, to be summoned on the Day of Judgement, and told by Allah He is pleased, and He has reserved His reward for me in the Hereafter.

masha`Allah to all that follows here: One of my brothers became a Chartered Company Secretary. That is a very respectable and very paying profession. One of my sisters fulfilled my father's dream. She is an FRCP (correction: it is MRCP for physicians, and FRCS for surgeons, I must really be getting old) from the UK, and one of the most sought after medical consultants in Karachi. The youngest of my sisters is very well placed in the Pakistani branch of one of the topmost international NGOs. I won't mention which, for I do not want to give away the identity of my family. She has been offered a place abroad by the said NGO, but has declined, for mother doesn't want her to leave Pakistan for good. The brother who did not progress beyond Matriculation because of his head injuries, has one of the finest collection of books - in English as well as Urdu.

All my siblings have the tenacity and perseverance of my mother. I am the exception. Somewhere along my life (at age 20, I think) I developed an attitude of "it isn't worth the trouble", but I still asked Allah (swt), and He has looked after me very well indeed. The story of that, the story of my own life, is a story of miracle after miracle, and maybe it is due to my mother's duas, for after age 20 at least, I did nothing to deserve what I have.

It, of course, is worth the trouble. One should ask Allah (swt) for everything, even what looks unachievable, for He can create the conditions to give you what you want. I asked for some such things when I was in Canada, and I did it when I was a non-practicing Muslim, or maybe I had stopped being a Muslim, but I still asked Him. It is amazing how He fulfilled these. Only I did not ask Him to fulfil my dream in Chemistry. I relied on my own brilliance. And that is where I went wrong. There is a couplet in Urdu:

Tu hee nadaan chand kalyon peh qana`at kar gaya
warna chaman mein elaje tangiye damaan bhee tha

You, stupid one, yourself stopped short with a few buds
Otherwise, in the garden there was cure for a short shirt as well

(when you are collecting buds and flowers in bulk, you use your shirt to collect these, if you do not have a basket).

I will post the story later, insha`allah.
timbuktu
Guest
« Reply #13 on: Nov 07, 2008 03:13 PM »

Re: The darker side of glittering bangles
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 03:36 AM »

peace be upon you


If poor people would stop having children, then they wouldn't be exploited. Only problem is that sometimes when people have children, they are not poor, but later in their lives, poverty sets in. Then the choice in the third world is either to go hungry and die because of it, or to beg, or to have the whole family work. The least that happens is malnutrition.

There was a time when me and my siblings worked to wind silk threads into small lots, to earn a few annas. It was piece work from a friend of my aunt - said friend's husband had a silk industry. They were very rich, but my mother refused to accept monetary help from them.

We would often walk long distances, to save a few paisas. The school bus charged Rs. 30/= per child. With private buses, we could save Rs. 5/= per month per child. That meant a lot to us, even though we had to get up at 4:00 in the morning, and take the first bus to school at 5:00, and walk at least 4 kilometers as well.  We were the first people at school, before 7:00 am, earlier than even the sweepers. The school started at 8:00 am. We didn't take any lunch. It would have been too expensive. On the way back, we had to walk even longer distances, because the buses were full. We never reached home earlier than 4:00 pm. When I reached home, I was hungry, tired, and sleepy. Often the sleep would take precedence over hunger.

My father had been very unwell. His business had run into problems. He no longer had any income. When he became ill, his partners ransacked the business premises in Karachi and everything of value was lifted. In India, my grandfather had a lot of property and a lot of money, but his eldest son wouldn't let him help us, for my father had taken a principled stand against interest. My uncle was very annoyed with him for this, and wanted to teach him a lesson for being so principled.

When we left India in 1947, my father had businesses in Delhi and Calcutta. My mother's house and my father's business premises in India were taken over by the Indian Refugee Board. We couldn't go to live in India with our grandfather as according to the Govt. of India rules, we had been declared enemy absconders. We could visit him, but for a few months only, and the visit would cost money.

In desperation, my mother wrote a letter to my grandfather, telling him he could disown her, but how could he live with the knowledge that his grandchildren were going hungry.

My grandfather had a showdown with his eldest son, and a princely sum of Rs. 500/= per month started coming to my mother.

It wasn't enough, and our uncle stopped the stipend when my brothers left College to start supplementing the stipend. They used to go to the prestigious Aetcheson College in Lahore. The Principal asked my brother to stay on. He would give him a scholarship. My brother was brilliant, but his scholarship would only cover the cost of his education and keep. He wouldn't be able to help mother, so he refused. Later on, when he got married, though, his wife made sure all his income went into her hands, and they started living away from us, so after my father became ill, mother did not have an easy life, until well into her seventies.

Mother wanted us all to have the best education. There was'nt enough even for food or rent, let alone fees for the English medium schools my mother wanted us to go to. My uncle was opposed to us having any education, least of all in English medium schools. To this day I wonder how my mother made ends meet, and sent us all to missionary schools where the fees per child, after brother concession, was Rs 25/= per month. We, as children, were aware of how short money was. I remember never asking for anything. At school, I decided not to participate in any activity that needed money, and almost every activity needed that.

When I graduated from the Uni of B'ham, I looked at the price tag for attending the convocation. It was ten pounds. I decided to save that money. It would help my mother. That is why I do not have a picture of me in the graduation gown. I don't regret it. Just mentioning what one's priorities become.

I remember in my childhood, mother cutting and cooking stalks of spinach and similar vegtables for us. Nowhere else have I seen these being cooked. There were times when we even ate our rotis only with chutney made from mint leaves and green chillies, things the grocer gave away for free with vegetables.

In those days the butchers used to throw away chicken heads, liver and other chicken parts. A woman that used to help my mother with housework (we were still middle class, no one knew how we made ends meet), had a husband who was a butcher's helper. He used to take all those parts home, and sometimes my mother's helper would bring a portion of these to my mother, who would give her a small sum for these. Apparently even that small sum was too much for my mother, for even that treat wasn't often. That comprised our protein intake.

I loved what my mother cooked, and I know now why she was the last one to eat, alone.

My brother went to a roadside quack for a serious operation. He almost died.

Some of the health problems we have faced are probably due to malnutrition at that age. It would have been worse without the extra income from our child labour. I am glad that friend of my aunt gave us work. It helped.

Would you rather we starved!

____________________

P.S.:      The helper with housework was only for a short period. Perhaps my mother was pregnant or just had a delivery. and maybe the protein intake stopped when she stopped coming.

I asked my mother why we had that lovely dish of chicken heads only for a short time, and why she hadn't taught this dish to my wife or my sisters, as I had it only for that brief period. And then the story came out. Until then, mother had kept the full extent of our family's financial problems from me, at least. And it hadn't occurred to me that "chicken heads" was a poor person's food.
timbuktu
Guest
« Reply #14 on: Nov 07, 2008 03:20 PM »

Re: The darker side of glittering bangles
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 11:40 PM »

peace be upon you


We went to school, and good ones at that. Only we gave up on things that needed money.

For years, I wore hand-me-downs, and never felt anything. I just did not observe what others had. What they had was theirs, and it had nothing to do with me. Even looking at what they had made me think I was invading their privacy and property, and that was an improper thing to do.

The first time I started seeing consumer goods was when I had spent many years in the West. I still did not see what others had. I went to Oxford Street in London, and window-shopped, only to appreciate the beauty of these consumer items.

I am glad the cycle breakers and the NGOs weren't around when we were at school. They would have broken us, instead of the cycle.

The problem is too big. It requires a revolution. If not a bloody one, then one in thinking, and unfortunately the world hasn't given up on the American Nightmare. I am sorry, but this is what I think the American Dream actually is.

It requires Islam to be practiced in toto, and again unfortunately, this needs a revolution in thought, of the elite and the masses.

--------------

P.S.: I remember now how my mother made ends meet. She sold her jewelery, bit by bit, and she had loads of it. Then when the jewelry was gone, she sold her brass and bronze utensils - huge and heavy trays called "seenee", and huge copper utensils. And heavy curtains, those you see only at palaces. Those were her dowry things she sold. When these were gone, I don't know how she managed. She worked very hard, and she prayed, even the tahajjud. She did her wazaif as well.

My mother and her elder sister were the two most wonderful people in this world.

Mother had a dream - that her children would be educated, and Allah (swt) fulfilled her dream, alhamdulillah. All her nine children, except one, who was prone to accidents in the head and lost quite a lot of blood that way, have had education upto masters at least. All own their own houses. All have their own cars. And all practice Islam.
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to: