People living in poverty often have to make desperate decisions, such as sending their children out to work so that the family can survive. Across Sub-Saharan Africa, many children end up working long hours in mines, or in other hazardous work, and they miss out on school. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to push even more families into poverty, there are concerns that the number of children trapped in child labour could rise.
Throughout the pandemic, our local partners have been delivering emergency food packages to the most vulnerable communities. We have also been providing cash grants so that families can spend the money on their most urgent priorities. In the short-term, this is helping families survive this crisis.
We are also equipping families for the long-term through skills training. This includes teaching sustainable farming techniques that help improve harvests so families have food to eat – and a surplus to sell and earn an income. Through community groups – often run through our local church partners – people are also being taught how they can set up their own small businesses.
When parents have a stable income, everyone in the family benefits. School fees can be paid, which gives children not only a chance to learn, play and grow, but opens up new opportunities for them.
Breaking the cycle of poverty
‘The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating for people living in poverty, and we are still yet to see the full effects of this,’ shares Kossi Agbo, who leads Tearfund's work in West Africa.
‘As schools are reopening, many children haven’t come back. Parents can no longer afford the fees. This will mean children going out to work to help support their families. In Burkina Faso, this can mean them working in the gold mines, which are dangerous and a health risk.’
‘Tearfund is continuing to support these families so they can lift themselves out of poverty. Through our work with local churches, we are also able to highlight the risks that working in mines pose to children, and support parents to send their children to school.’
But millions of children remain at risk of exploitation as families continue to reel from the effects of the pandemic. Please join us in prayer.
Pray with us
Lord, We lift up children from around the world. We ask that you will protect them and that they will have the freedom to play, learn and enjoy their childhoods. Give them hopes and dreams for the future, we pray.
We ask that you comfort children who are currently working in dangerous jobs and provide them with a way out of exploitation and poverty, so they can flourish in life. We pray for healing for any trauma they have faced. Bless them Lord, we pray.
We lift up to you families who are having to make desperate decisions in order to survive. We ask that you equip them with the tools they need to earn an income and thrive. Let there be no barriers in sending their children to school Lord, we pray.
In Jesus’ name, amen.