When I arrived to Turkey over 10 years ago I simply fell in love with the country and its people and such a rich culture and history. But one of the things I got shocked was child labor.
To be honest coming from Paris France I was never faced with children being forced to work to survive. I knew it existed in very poor countries and remote places but again despite the mere awareness of the problem it's really not something I ever witnessed.
Here in Turkey it is something you can't miss, it's the boy standing on a street corner with a scale to weight people, the one selling tissues or pens at the bust stop, the one bringing you your groceries from a local shop. It's the kiddos you see in the fields as seasonal workers for agriculture... Now with the arrival of about 4 million refugees from Syria the problem got even worse. The official reports state there is close to 2 million child workers in Turkey (Turkish and refugees) and that 8 out of 10 are undocumented. (Numbers from TUİK) Children as small as 7-8 work in factories, construction sites and others.
This numbers do not include the child brides of this country who do house work and farm word.
After years of volunteering and activism to combat this problem I can report first hand that the only solution to eradicate this is to lift those families out of poverty.
Since establishing bebemoss I can even assure you something else: providing a fair and sustainable income to a mother in need will keep her kiddo out of work and longer in school. And this is the core mission of our company, something we have been working very hard to achieve for more than 5 years now.
Children shouldn’t work in fields or factories, but on dreams!
I have been asked many times what is that motivates me, what makes me go here you have it: the immediate impact of each and every to we sale on the lives of children. Learn more on the impact you make when you purchase one of our stuffed animals here
Here are a few ideas of what I, you or him, everyone can do on everyday basis to solve this worldwide problem, cause let me tell you straight liking on facebook won't cut it!
First comes to mind is supporting charities deploying programs to put children at school or to empower women or actually any charity fighting for children rights, agains hunger and poverty.
But the power lies in being a mindful consumer! Let your $ support business that empower women. Buy fair trade and do some due diligence on the companies you buy from to learn where and how they source or produce their products. Spend that extra $ or two and get a product from a sustainable and good brand instead of just getting the cheapest.
Photos taken in 2008 in the region of Cappadocia of a settlement of season workers in the pumpkin fields. Photo credit to my husband Emre Ersahin