Share and Enjoy
Defying the scorching rays of the sun at the top of hill, an 11-year old girl Pinki Bhouri was cutting grass and removing weeds to keep the tea garden clean.
“My mother, who was a registered worker in this garden, has been sick for the last few months and my father does not have any permanent job. So, I have to work here for livelihood of my family,” he said.
Pinki works at Rajanagar tea garden in Kulaura Upazila. Like other workers she works at least seven to eight hours daily and gets Tk 30 only.
“I read up to class 2. Then I had to give up study as I got registered in the garden. If I continued study and did not work here, how our family would be run and what would we eat?” Pinki questioned.
Giving up their studies, many other children like Pinki work in tea gardens for earning livelihood.
In the morning, when children of affluent families go out of their home with books and pens for schools, the tea garden children go out of their home with knife, basket and other necessary kits for working in the garden.
A 10-year old boy Silon Jadob was seen doing the same work at the same tea garden.
“I have been working here for last 15 days in exchange for my sister-in-law as she is sick. I hope to join here soon as a registered worker, if I can prove myself eligible,” he said.
Another child worker Sumon Orang aged around 13 of Debolchara tea garden under Kamalganj upazila had given up studies after class five.
“I wanted to continue my study, but my parents did not allow me to. They said they could not bear the expenses of my study. Rather, it would be better for the family, if I can earn something,” said Sumon.
“We do not want that our children engage in work at their childhood. We want to send them school and to educate them. But we cannot afford, when we cannot arrange for food three times a day,” said Taposh Shankha Bhouri, a worker of Shishel Bari teagarden in Srimongol.