Children’s organizations: many in number, few in work
Younis Jum’a, 8, is selling gums everyday to make his elderly parents happy. On World Children’s Day, no organization is there to make him happy. Although more than five children’s organizations work in Kirkuk, children are still suffering from many issues.
People are criticizing the government and children’s organizations since they are not responsive to children’s needs. Children’s organizations say that political tensions do not let them work, as they have split even the children’s organizations.
Najim Muhamad, director of the Kirkuk branch of the Kurdistan Save the Children Organization says politics does not affect children’s organization work.
Younis disturbs passengers crossing Majidiya street in the middle of Kirkuk, asking them buy his gums. It has been two years since he starting doing that, and he said “I make my mom happy. When I go home she takes my money saying she’ll pay the rent of the house.”
On World Children’s Day, the streets have become the city game for those children who work there, as the children’s organizations have been criticized over this phenomenon.
Jwan Hasan, head of the Human Rights Committee in the Kirkuk Provincial Council said, “The organizations that work in the name of children are just names without roles. Their activities are just celebrations; races between children, even their activities do not include all of the children.”
Hasan said, “The organizations should come online and work to change the laws relevant to children. One of the laws to be changed gives children to their uncle or aunt if their parents have died, and is coming from culture.”
One of the obstacles is the lack of government cooperation to remove the child labour phenomenon. Even now, there’s no shelter for orphans. The organizations have been criticized for not being influential.
Srood Muhamad Fatih, head of the Kirkuk branch of Hiwa for Human Rights said, “I don’t feel like having any children’s organization here since the state of children is the same without any change. The number of children working on the streets has not been reduced.”
According to recent data, more than five children’s organizations currently exist in Kirkuk. “The organizations should work on education too, teaching parents how to better educate their children,” Faith said.
She suggested opening a shelter for orphans, saying that “There is a case of an 11-year-old girl who was married because she did not have anyone. This is the duty of such organizations to protect them.”
She further said, “Some children are in jails with women who are criminals.”
Najim Muhamad, as a member of one of the children’s organizations responded, “Those who say nothing has been done to aid children are not aware of our work.”
Barham Farhan, a social researcher further criticized the children’s organizations saying they use their places as gardens, without any influence. “They are responsible over the fate of children on the streets, as the media should stir this subject on World Children’s Day.”
The researcher says beggary and working will have a bad impact on the future of children, as he asked the government and organizations not to allow child labour.
People are complaining, and the organizations respond by saying that, “The government does not listen to us,” as Muhamad said.
Kirkuk orphans are spending another World Children’s Day on streets, as the tensions between the political parties and the children’s organizations continue.
Omed Sami – Kirkuk Now