Yemen’s participation in World Congress against Child Labor:Spectacular participation [Archives:2004/742/Last Page]

May 31 2004
Zamzam taking the lead in the march in the streets of Florence
Zamzam taking the lead in the march in the streets of Florence
by Akram Al-Junaid
Florence – Yemen's participation in the first ever World Congress against Child Labor was truly spectacular. With the representation of Yemen by former child worker Zamzam Qassim, the country was respected for its courage to unveil this major problem and for seeking cooperation and assistance from other countries.

Zamzam gives speech
During the conference, which lasted from 10 to 13 May, the 14-year-old Zamzam along with her chaperone presented statistics and facts about the situation of child labor in Yemen. In her statement to the congress participants, Zamzam said, “Statistics reveal the frightening and miserable status of child labor in Yemen. According to a 10-year-old survey, around 340,000 children were working children. The major disaster is the fact that the rate of increase in the number of working children has also increased since then.”
“Around 70% of those children end up working for economic reasons, 20% for educational reasons, and 10% for social reasons.” she added.
Furthermore, Zamzam, who studies at the Sanaa-based Center for Rehabilitating Working Children, said that her center has worked on raising awareness about child labor and its hazards, and in cooperation with the International Labor Organisation (ILO) and its representative on the International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), which is the organization that founded the center from the beginning.
“This congress is a small step towards informing the world of the hardships and miseries of millions of working children around the world. I hope that this congress will be held annually to continue to concentrate on this important global problem.” she concluded.

Reasons to participate
In an interview for Yemen Times, Zamzam said that she wanted to meet working children from other countries of the world to share experiences and ideas. “I also wanted to stress the need to prevent children from working because this could be destructive to their lives. Working always disrupts the education of children, exposing them to possible failure in finding jobs in the future because of their poor academic achievement”.

Overall success of Yemen's mission
The evaluation of Yemen's participation in the event, which was organized and fully sponsored by the Global March Against Child Labor, was quite positive as Zamzam was able to make many friends from the four corners of the world and experienced a pleasant time in Florence, where the event was held.
“In fact, we all cried at the moment of bidding farewell. It was truly difficult for me to leave the friends that I made during my stay. I believe this is the way life goes, but I will never regret my participation at Florence.” Zamzam said.