‘I had to step up’: Child labour in poorest countries rose during Covid, says report

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Study finds children in Ghana, Nepal and Uganda in dangerous, exploitative work, with long hours and little pay

Gopal Magar’s father has had a drinking problem for as long as he can remember, but when Kathmandu went into lockdown last spring, it got worse. With five members of his family confined to a small room in the south of the city, tempers frayed and the 14-year-old saw his father beat his mother again and again. One day Gopal could stand it no longer. He fought back, and then fled, leaving his parents, and his school, behind.

Gopal now lives with his older brother on the other side of the city, and has swapped his classroom for a construction site. “I have fewer problems now, but I need to work really hard,” he says. He starts work at six in the morning and for the next 12 hours hauls sand, loads bricks and mixes concrete. He earns about £7 a day and sends some of it to his mother to help her buy food and pay the rent.

Related: Covid-19 prompts ‘enormous rise’ in demand for cheap child labour in India

Related: ‘I miss school’: 800m children still not fully back in classes

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Written by Lizzy Davies and Pete Pattisson
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/may/26/i-had-to-step-up-child-labour-in-poorest-countries-rose-during-covid-says-report under the title “‘I had to step up’: Child labour in poorest countries rose during Covid, says report”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.