Child Slavery in Brick Kilns
Contemporary forms of child slavery still exist in thousands of brick kilns scattered across Pakistan, India, Myanmar and remote parts of Central Asia and China. Children as young as 6 years old work several hours a day under the hot sun to pay off family debts.
Out of desperation, many homeless families turn to wealthy brick kiln owners for loans in exchange for their labour and a space to build a home. Crouching for long hours under the sweltering heat, they make bricks by hand to pay off their loans. Their pay? A measly US$6 per 1000 bricks in Pakistan — a fraction of what they are sold for on the market. Compounded by high interest rates and other expenses to be charged by the brick kiln owner, this debt is incredibly difficult to pay back. So much so that parents often compel their young children to make bricks alongside them, even if it’s illegal. Trapped in a cycle of debt, these bonded labourers could be working in the same brick kiln for more than 10 years.
Labourers live in cramped, unhygienic conditions which increase their risk of injury and diseases. Physical and sexual abuse are also common against women and children, but they often go unreported. Children working in the kilns suffer from malnourishment and cannot read nor write.
Freedom Through Education
Helping to tackle the root of child slavery — poverty — is the Breakthrough School in Chakoki village, a 2-hour drive away from Lahore, Pakistan. Established in April 2015 with foreign aid, Breakthrough School provides education to about 40 children who were former child slaves in brick kilns. The school secures the approval of the brick kiln owner and the parents to allow the children to attend school for 3 to 5 hours a day. The goal is to nurture these children with the skills and right values they need to obtain alternative paid employment. These children are driven to learn and have achieved very good results so far. Like many others, they have aspirations too.
Sponsor Education Through Coffee
Without continuous funding, the children will have to return to work in the brick kilns. Help free these children from a life of bonded labour. Subscribe to a year’s supply of our social impact coffee. 10% of your coffee subscription will help subsidize the cost of educating these children. It costs US$140 a year to educate a child at Breakthrough School.
Abonzo Coffee was started to create jobs for young Akha tribal villagers in the mountains of Doi Chang, North Thailand. Due to marginalisation and limited employment, many vulnerable youths are lured by drug syndicates into trafficking drugs. Abonzo Coffee beans are 100% Arabica, harvested from shrubs that are cultivated using organic methods of farming. The coffee is free of artificial pesticides and fertilisers. The roasted beans are very aromatic with a good balance of mildly sweet and bitter tastes. It is full-bodied with nutty notes.
You can enjoy your morning coffee from the Akha people knowing that you are not only helping to push back a drug problem, but also giving child slaves in Pakistan a hope and a future.