Child Labor in Syria Increases Significantly

August 21, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. refugee /ˌrɛf yʊˈdʒi/ (n.) – a person forced to live in another country in a time of war or political unrest
Example: They became refugees once civil war broke out in their country.

2. breadwinner /ˈbrɛdˌwɪn ər/ (n.) – a person who earns money and supports dependents, usually family members
Example: My father is the breadwinner in our family.

3. livelihood /ˈlaɪv liˌhʊd/ (n.) – a way to financially support oneself
Example: He lost his livelihood during the war.

4. engage /ɛnˈgeɪdʒ/ (v.) – to participate in or busy oneself with something
Example: The police arrested him for engaging in criminal activities.

5. developing country /dɪˈvɛl ə pɪŋ ˈkʌn tri/ (n.) – a country that is not yet industrially advanced
Example: The Philippines is a developing country.


Read the text below.
A recent report says that the number of children who are already working instead of going to school is increasing in Syria.

According to a collaborative report by Save the Children and the United Nations Children’s Fund, children as young as six years old in Syria are already working to financially support their families. The report also revealed that more than 75% of the surveyed households have children who are already employed. Furthermore, almost half of the Syrian child refugees in neighboring countries now act as their households’ joint or sole breadwinners.

Before the Syrian war started in March 2011, Syria was considered a middle-income country. Roger Hearn of Save the Children said that this war created a crisis, as it lessened the sources of livelihood for families and put many households in poverty. Currently, nearly 65% of the people in Syria are suffering from severe poverty.

Because many families do not have access to even the most basic needs, children are forced to work to help increase their family income. Some of these children engage in dangerous activities such as warfare, sexual exploitation, child trafficking, and organized begging.

Syria is not the only country with child labor problems. UNICEF reported that about 13% of children aged 5 to 14 years old in developing countries are also already working. The organization also found that 25% of the children in Sub-Saharan Africa, 12% in South Asia, and 5% in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CEE/CIS) are involved in child labor.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What are your thoughts on Syrian children having to work instead of going to school?
·         What can be done to help children in Syria?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think some people hire children as workers?
·         What can be the dangers of letting children work even at a young age? 

August 21, 2015