June 2020 – While many sectors are still in their fledgling stage in the fight against child labor, the tobacco sector has been facing the problem for more than two decades. The matter gains momentum this Friday, June 12 – World Day Against Child Labor, sanctioned by the International Labor Organization (ILO), in 2002.
In the tobacco sector, nearly four years before the day of its creation, there had already been consolidated work focused on the prevention of child labor in tobacco farming. On 25 November 1998, the “Future Is Now” Program brought together representative entities from the industries and tobacco farmers for the purpose of formalizing a pact intended to fight child labor, an initiative considered to be the initial milestone for a series of actions that followed.
According to SindiTabaco president Iro Schünke, tobacco is many years ahead of other agribusiness sectors when the subject turns to child and adolescent protection. “Child protection and the creation of opportunities for rural youth is one of the pillars of SindiTabaco’s work in conjunction with the associate companies. It is awareness work that has been going on for years and culminated with the initiative of the Growing Up Right Institute”, the chief officer comments.
Since then, the work has been intensified to expand the initiative and to comply with legal legislations that were created. In 2008, a Deed of Undertaking was signed by SindiTabaco’s associate companies, with the approval of the Union and the Tobacco Growers’ Association of Brazil (Afubra), before Rio Grande do Sul’s Public Ministry’s Labor Department (MPT-RS), officially assuming the commitment to fight child labor in the production of tobacco. In March 2011, a similar agreement was signed with the Public Ministry’s Labor Department in Brasília, applicable to Santa Catarina and Paraná. The industries started to require the certificate of enrollment, school attendance certificate and proof of school attendance of the children and adolescents residing on the farms of the integrated tobacco producers. Awareness seminars and publicity campaigns reinforced these special cares.
In 2011, in order to adjust to Decree nº 6.481, of 12 June 2008 (which banned any work in agriculture for under-18-year olds), the then “The Future is Now” program came to be known as Growing Up Right Program. From then on, the range of works was expanded jointly with the municipal administrations and educational networks with the aim to protect children and adolescents. One of the milestones was a training program, in 2012, with the participation of ILO officials, of the upwards of 1.2 thousand agricultural technicians from the tobacco companies, intended to encourage the children of the tobacco farmers to attend regular school classes, thus staying away from irregular labor.
On 23 April 2015, one more step was taken with the creation of the Growing Up Right Institute by the SindiTabaco, an entity that was founded by private individuals related to agricultural activities, education and the rights of children and adolescents, and is sponsored by the industries of the tobacco sector. The Institute provides for opportunities for the young to stay and develop in the rural setting, through income generating options and the development of skills and potentialities. With its pioneer Rural Professional Learning Program the entity offers courses focused on entrepreneurship and rural administration, through professional courses provided by the Learning Law. Know more about it at www.crescerlegal.com.br
Photos: Junio Nunes
Cibele Gandolpho – firstname.lastname@example.org – (11) 3169-9331 / (11) 96477-2701
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