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Children Formerly Involved in Camel Racing

© UNICEF/PAKA/Jim Stipe
Formerly involved in camel racing, Hameed Musa (first from left) is a grade I student in the village school

United Arab Emirates and United Nations Children’s Fund Rehabilitation Programme for Children Formerly Involved in Camel Racing (CICR)

On May 7, 2005, the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) signed a ground breaking agreement to return children formerly employed as camel jockeys to their countries of origin and reintegrate them into their communities. Under the programme, more than 1,077 children from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sudan, Mauritania and Eritrea received services at community centres and were repatriated.

By June 2007, 695 children have been repatriated to Pakistan out of which 334 have returned through the UAE-UNICEF Repatriation Programme while 361 came back through their own arrangements. 

Second Phase of the UAE-UNICEF Rehabilitation Programme

In a meeting held in Abu Dhabi in April 2007, the UAE has committed itself to fully fund a second phase of the repatriation programme, which is intended to help not only those repatriated under the first phase, but also those who returned to their countries outside the programme. 

The project will be implemented at the federal, provincial and district levels in Pakistan. At the provincial and federal levels, the project will strengthen the capacity of relevant government authorities to coordinate and monitor the issues associated with all forms of child trafficking in Pakistan and help develop policies and strategies that will support and scale up the integrated community-based development initiative models to other districts for preventing child trafficking.

At the district level, it will continue support for social reintegration and protection of the repatriated children including those who may be returning in the future. Seven Union Councils of Rahim Yar Khan District in the Punjab Province and two Union Councils of Larkana District in the Sindh Province, from where the majority of camel jockey children come from, have been selected for this project. The UAE-UNICEF Repatriation Programme will start in the province of Sindh in June 2007.

© UNICEF/PAKA/Jim Stipe
Shan, Zulfiqar and Ehsan raced camels in the UAE for many years before their repatriation.

The rehabilitation process of returned children is being closely monitored by the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau (CPWB), Government of the Punjab, and UNICEF. CPWB staff regularly visits their families and schools/vocational centres to get an update on their progress. Youth clubs and community organizations have been formed to help these children re-integrate into their communities.

UNICEF is providing technical support to the UAE Government and the CPWB for the repatriation and rehabilitation of the camel jockey children. With funds provided by the UAE government, a conditional cash grant of 600 Pak. Rupees (UAE Dirham 37, US $10) is given to every child for education provided he has an 80 per cent attendance in school or at a vocational training centre. A bicycle has also been given to every repatriated child.

Click the links below to read human interest stories of Children Formerly Involved in Camel Racing (CICR):

Asjad started racing camels when he was only four (2.94 MB pdf)

Hameed Musa raced camels for eight years (2.97 MB pdf)

Zufliqar loves going to school and would never like to race camels again (3.42 MB pdf)

Formerly involved in camel racing, brothers Shan and Ehsan are bright students (2.94MB pdf)

 

 

 

 

CICR Fact Box

A total of 695 Children Formerly Involved in Camel Racing (CICR) have been repatriated from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Pakistan till 20 June 2007:
• 345 are from district Rahim Yar Khan
• 53 are from district Dera Ghazi Khan
• 40 are from district Multan
• 161 are from district Muzaffargarh
• 43 are from other districts of the Punjab
• 44 are children from districts in Sind Province
• 9 children are still in the CPWB hostel in Lahore waiting for their families to be identified

Repatriation of CICR under the UAE-UNICEF Rehabilitation Program:
• So far, 334 CICR have been repatriated under the programme
• 325 have been reunited with their families through UNICEF partner Child Protection Welfare Bureau (CPWB)
• 9 children are still in the CPWB hostel in Lahore waiting for their families to be identified

Children repatriated independently:
• CPWB has identified 361 CICR who have returned independently

Education grant and bicycles provided to CICR under the UAE-UNICEF Rehabilitation Programme:
• 600 CICR repatriated and reunited with their families have received bicycles
• 501 CICR are receiving educational grant



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