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  Child labour in developing countries
Updated 21 February 2002, 11.42

Heather Jarvis of UNICEF education
Heather Jarvis works for UNICEF's education staff, they offer resources and inset on the convention on rights of the child and also global citizenship

This activity looks at the interdependent nature of the world using the garment industry in Bangladesh as an example.

It explores the idea of global citizenship using the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a values framework.

This is a lesson plan that can be used as part of UNICEF's National Non-Uniform Day that raises money for getting children in Bangladesh and Brazil out of labour and into school.

Learning aims

  • To be introduced to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and how it aims to improve the lives of children across the globe
  • Learn how child labour impedes children's rights
  • Think about how the world is interdependent and their own role as global citizens
  • To be part of/learn about UNICEF's National Non-Uniform Day
Ask the class:
  • Can you remember a time when you felt exhausted?
  • Were you allowed to rest?
  • How would it feel if you have not been able to rest?
  • Or, if you were prevented, how did that feel?
Show or read

Ask the class:

  • Is it fair that the character is beaten?
  • Is it right that she has to work?

Main activity
Make the point that child labour denies children their rights and refer to

Ask the class why they think children work?

Divide class into groups of 4 or 5 and give each group an atlas. Ask students to look at the labels in their clothes and using an atlas find out where they are made. Make a list of the countries.

Extension activity
Students should read out their lists. Which countries were the most popular?

Place stickers on relevant countries on a map of the world.

Explain what a developing country is. Ask why they think that most of the countries we import our clothes from are developing countries?

When we have the skills and technology in the UK to produce them, does it make environmental sense in terms of fuel consumption to fly such products across the world.

Students could write a letter to a clothing or sports shop to ask if the workers who make the clothes they sell get a fair wage.

Say why cheap labour is unfair and who suffers as a result. The point is not to demand an end to trading with developing countries, but to demand that workers receive a fair wage and that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is respected.

Teachers' Background

  • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is an agreement between countries to obey the same laws and all but 2 countries have signed up to the Convention.
  • With rights come responsibilities and that as global citizens we all have responsibilities.
  • Paying low wages means the whole family suffers. If poor parents can't afford to provide decent shelter or nutritious food then children have to work to help pay for these rights. Thus the child loses their right to an education. Without an education the cycle of poverty continues.
  • Even when education is free, uniform, schoolbooks and exam fees often are not, and so families still cannot send their children to school.
  • UNICEF's National Non-Uniform Day, Day for Change is an annual event held in thousands of schools all over the UK. This year, NNUD is raising money for UNICEF's education projects in Bangladesh and Brazil. To register your school email and receive further lesson plans and resources free.

For all links and resources click at top right.

More InfoBORDER=0
WorldChildren's working conditions
Club'I thought slavery was gone'


Web Links
Summary of childrens rights
UNICEF education
Sharmine's case study
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