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St. Scho stops and shoots against child labor

childrenWhat a delight to see the smile of a child through the lens of the young! They will be on full display until the end of the week.

Some 50 snap shots of batang malaya by St. Scholastica’s College (SSC) college students are now on exhibit. It is part of the culminating activity of the “Stop and Shoot Anti-Child Labor Photo Competition” that began as the schoolyear started last month.

The Stop and Shoot exhibit, set at the school’s social hall, began today after a short program and would last until Friday.

St. Scholastica’s College against child labor

“We are delighted to be part of the movement to end child labor in the country and make it part of the many relevant advocacies of the school,” said Prof. Ma. Asuncion Azcuna, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.

“We owe it to the creative minds and active participation of the students themselves,” said Julius Cainglet, Assistant Vice President of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) of the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC).

Giovanni Soledad, Project Manager of the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) shares, "To see the youth take the lead in a campaign like this is very inspiring. Same is true with the commitment that the St. Scholastica's College has shown by mobilizing its whole community against this issue of child labor."

“This is a trailblazing effort,” said Director Ahmma Charisma Lobrin-Satumba of the Department of Labor and Employment-Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (DOLE-BWSC), referring to the partnership of the government agency with a private educational institution on eliminating child labor. “We commend the SSC and we hope we can replicate this initiative with other schools,” she added.

Raising students’ awareness on child labor

Stop and Shoot was the brainchild of students from the Mass Communication Department's Development Communication program, who got involved in labor advocacy during their internship last summer.

“We wanted to help promote the Child Labor Knowledge Sharing System (CLKSS) website, which contains practically all the relevant information on child labor in the Philippines,” said Innah Corral, Charmaine Perillo and Divina Cabil, who were interns at the FFW.

The CLKSS is being managed by the Knowledge Management Sub-Committee of the NCLC. It was developed with support from the ILO-IPEC. It is in the process of getting more students to register with CLKSS as part of its efforts at raising the awareness of youth on child labor.

“We immediately thought of a photo competition since we knew a lot of Scholasticans love taking photos and are active social media users,” said Corral, Perillo and Cabil.

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Generating sustained support

Student organization The Communication Society (CommSoc), which co-sponsored the event, also gave credit to the school and the community. “The support of the faculty and school administration was immense,” it said.

Thus far, Stop and Shoot has already inspired others within the SSC system to help end child labor.

The St. Scholastica’s College unit, as well as the St. Scholastica’s College Alumni Foundation, have collected some 250 gift bags of school supplies for the 250 child laborers who will take part in the Red Card Campaign to be launched in August. It is a Football Academy and Tournament for child laborers.

Meanwhile, another highlight of the Stop and Shoot culminating activity is the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between The DOLE and the SSC administration aimed at sustaining the anti-child labor campaign.

Under the agreement, the parties agree to commit resources for awareness raising on child labor within the SSC. The school was represented by Prof. Virginia Fornias, Vice President for Academic Affairs, while Director Lobrin-Satumba signed for the DOLE.

The signing was witnessed by Soledad, Professor Azcuna, Cainglet, Candice Laquian, president of CommSoc and the rest of the SSC community.

The NCLC is implementing the second phase of the Philippine Program Against Child Program. It centers on preventing children at-risk of getting into child labor from becoming child laborers, removing children especially in the worst forms of child labor from work and into education; and re-integrating these children back into mainstream society.

The Philippines is a signatory to both the Worst Forms of Child Labor Convention 182 and Minimum Age for Work Convention 138. It has also ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The country’s main Anti-Child Labor Law is Republic Act 9231.

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PHOTOS from CLKSS/ NoTo Child Labor FB page

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