Small Hands, Big Profits: Child Labour in Syria

Today, the 12th of June, is “World Day Against Child Labour”. Officially inaugurated in 2002, it’s a holiday sanctioned by the International Labour Organization (ILO) with the aim of raising awareness and combating child labour in all its forms around the world.

For this day, we’ve decided to focus on how violence and armed conflict in Syria has forced many of the country’s children into work, denying them their basic rights to a full childhood, with one of the most crucial ones being education.

With hard work and no study, children are paying the heaviest price. After eight years of conflict, the crisis has massively impacted children in both Syria and the surrounding region. Every child has been emotionally, mentally, and physically affected by the conflict’s violence and displacement which has caused severed family ties and lack of access to basic services.

The devastation in Syria is huge. Many schools, hospitals, and utilities have been destroyed. According to the UNICEF Report on The Syrian Crisis in 2019, it states that around “2.6 million children remain displaced inside Syria, while some 2.5 million children are living as refugees, in neighboring countries”.


We shouldn’t be surprised that years of conflict, displacement, violence, and loss of livelihoods would interrupt children’s education and push them into work to help provide for their families.

According to UNICEF “Children are often forced into hazardous labour, including operating heavy machinery in factories and workshops, blacksmithing, carpentry, scavenging through garbage for waste that can be sold”.

UNICEF, as well as other partners, are on the ground in Syria and across the region working hard to protect those children by teaching them how to cope with the impact of conflict and resume their childhoods. Parts of their efforts include providing access to education and psychosocial support services so that both children and caregivers can recover from traumas and restore their sense of normalcy.

WE SAID THIS: On World Day Against Child Labour, let’s remember that children need books and pencils, not hammers and nails.