Jordanians Talk about Child Labor

Child labor continues to be a topic of interest in Jordan, probably discussed over tea, if I know my Jordanians. Here is the latest talk from the Jordan Times 8-23-07:

Society holds conference on child labour, education

IRBID (Petra) – The Family and Childhood Protection Society on Saturday organised a conference to discuss the relation between child labour and school dropouts. HRH Princess Sana Asem inaugurated the one-day event, where participants reviewed prospective solutions to address such a phenomenon. The society’s president, Kathem Kfeiri, said child labour is on the rise, noting that a total of 5,000 cases were detected in 1997, but the number had increased to 7,000 despite efforts exerted in this regard. Head of the Women’s Cultural Forum Fayza Zu’bi presented a paper on the significance of providing welfare for children and establishing cooperation between the school and the family. At the end of the conference, Princess Sana presented certificates of appreciation to those who contributed to child-related projects.

I notice three things:

1) Child labor is increasing. We don’t know what industry this is in or if it is across industries, but I have started to notice t-shirts with a “Made in Jordan” label here. Could it be the garment industry? At the same time there is a movement in the west for “fair trade” products.

2) The topic has a royal patron, which in Jordan can really help call attention to an issue. Princess Sana Asem, born 1960, has a B.A. in English literature and translation. She is married to Prince Asem bin Al Nayef, born in 1948, the son of Prince Nayef bin Abdullah I (a younger son of Abdullah I of Jordan) and Princess Mihrimah Sultan (grand-daughter of Sultan Mohammad Rashad of Turkey). One of the prince’s daughters by a previous marriage, Noor, is married to Prince Hamzah bin al Hussein.

3) One of the prospective solutions considered is “establishing cooperation between the school and the family”. Doesn’t that sound a lot like the PTA? I always wondered why Jordan doesn’t have any Parent Teacher Association.

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