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child labour experiences Western Ethiopia

To date, the civil war in Sudan’s Blue Nile region resulted 11,172 refugees ended in Tongo refugee Camp, settled in Tongo town, Mao-Komo Special district, of which nearly 59% are children.

However, little assistance is available to help refugees with the increasing cost of living, pushing many families to send their children to work jeopardizing their education and subjecting them to exploitation by employers looking for cheap labor.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) defines child labor as the work of a person under the age of 18 that is paid or volunteer, permanent or temporary, and is harmful mentally, physically, socially or morally, as well as prevents him or her from attending school.

Different discussions and other data collected for this report show that many refugee children from Tongo Refugee Camp are forced not only to work, but to work heavy manual and farm works. Most payments are below the range of 30 Ethiopian Birr per day (equivalent to US$1), much less than the minimum wage stipulated in many countries labor law. Refugee children in the labor market also are exposed to dangerous, sometimes violent, working conditions.

The research gathered information for this report through visits to workplaces in Tongo town. In addition to that Interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with child laborers themselves and their families, as well as employers and staff of organizations relevant to the work of refugee children.

The goal of this paper is to indicate the prevalence of refugee children in Tongo Refugee Camp and to serve the data for advocacy and fund raising to design program for intervention.


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