World Day Against Child Labor – Being part of the solution. Since 1998, the tobacco sector has been promoting the much needed debate and implemented programs aimed at fighting child labor in the rural setting. At the end of the 1990s, initiatives previously conducted in an isolated manner, were combined into one program, thus reaching the entire tobacco supply chain. It was the “Future Is Now”, created in 1998. In 2011, the creation of the Growing Up Right Program gave rise to the first steps towards the Growing Up Right Institute, founded in 2015 and now acknowledged at home and abroad for its innovative stand against child labor.
On this Wednesday, June 8, the sector is again demonstrating to what extent it cherishes the matter, whilst acting as a mobilizing agent of the public who attended the state seminar on ‘Child Labor, Social Protection and Professional Learning’, promoted by the Rio Grande do Sul State Child Labor Prevention and Eradication Forum (FEPETI) and by the Rio Grande do Sul State Professional Learning Forum (FOGAP).
Coordinator of the forums and labor inspector Denise Brambilla González, opened the activities at CTA Club, in Venâncio Aires, and spoke about the purpose of creating awareness among rural communities, company technicians and civil society, in general, of the need to join efforts in the fight against child labor.
Interstate Tobacco Industry Union (SindiTabaco) president Iro Schünke, insisted on the importance of providing alternatives. “There is no doubt about our achievements over these years when it comes to protecting children and adolescents. There are still lots of challenges, like shortages of technological resources in the rural setting and education and qualification alternatives, especially in the case of adolescents. This is the gap the work developed by the Growing Up Right Institute wants to fill, an initiative that counts on support of the tobacco sector companies in partnership with public authorities”, he commented.
In the opinion of the National Coordinator of the Fight Against Child Labor, Roberto Padilha Guimarães, from the Ministry of Labor and Welfare, only through networking action will it be possible to effectively eradicate child labor. “It is a complex matter that does not only consist in keeping the children away from work, but it is also a question of providing alternatives. It involves children’s heath, as there are certain types of work that jeopardize the development of children and adolescents, it involves education and, for adolescents, it also involves professional learning”, he mentioned.
Key milestones in the fight against child labor in the tobacco sector
June 12 was chosen, in 2002, by the International Labor Organization (ILO) as World Day Against Child Labor. Years before, the tobacco sector had already implemented effective initiatives towards the protection of children and adolescents in the rural setting. Please check below:
1998: the launch of the Future Is Now! Followed by the signing of a pact towards the eradication of child labor.
2008: beginning of a long awareness campaign, including advertising material, and seminars focused on tobacco farmers, as part of the MPT-RS and Brasília agreements.
2010: IBGE census attests that the highest reduction rates in the use of child labor across the Country occurred in tobacco producing farms, compared with the previous census (2000).
2011: creation of the Growing Up Right Program, whose initiative was focused on incentive to education for the children of the tobacco farmers, especially adolescents.
2012: training sessions for 1.2 thousand field staff members of the tobacco companies on the protection of children and adolescents, with the participation of ILO agents.
2015: the Growing Up Right Institute was founded, an initiative by the SindiTabaco and associate companies, with support from people involved with education and with the fight against child labor , especially in tobacco growing regions in the South Region.
2016: the Rural Professional Learning Program, of the Growing Up Right Institute began to provide 14 – 17 year old adolescents with opportunities for qualification and income, through the Learning Law, in a course focused on rural management and entrepreneurship.
2017: the Us for Them – Giving a Voice to Rural Women was created, with capacity building courses on communication for former girl students of the Learning Program.
2020: the program ‘Best Practices in Entrepreneurship for Education’ was implemented, specific for schoolmasters of the Growing Up Right Institute’s partner schools.
2021: Growing Up Right Institute is awarded the Brazil Friendly-Child Award.
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