Qosai, A Child Labourer – But Within Whom Hope Lives

Qosai is amongst a group of children being supported through focused psychosocial sessions provided by UNICEF and its local partners; one of 4,500 boys and girls who benefited in 2017.

Nawal Naser
Qosai smiling with fruit stand in the background.
Fouad Choufany

23 January 2019

Small for his age, what 12-year-old Qosai lacks in stature he more than makes up for in optimism and high spirits.

A full day at school is followed by long hours working in a greengrocery to help his parents, packing and carrying heavy bags of fruit and vegetables.

Teaching life skills, each session is held in a safe and child-friendly location and addresses a different topic. Here, he and his peers are guided on expectations for behaviour in the community and amongst their friends. They learn ways to improve their working conditions, and master the skills necessary to protect themselves.

Bright-faced and upbeat in spite of his harsh living conditions, he’s amongst a group of children aged from 12 to 18 being supported through focused psychosocial sessions provided by INTERSOS and UNICEF.

Qosai is one of 4,500 boys and girls in Lebanon who benefited from UNICEF’s EU-funded child labour support services in 2017.

This year, the European Union Trust Fund has also enabled the provision of awareness on the risks and negative consequences of child labour to a further 7,000, and additionally helped secure case management services for 800 victims of the most severe forms of child labour.

 

Qosai picking pear.
Qosai picking fruit.
Qosai leaning his hand.

Teaching life skills, each session is held in a safe and child-friendly location and addresses a different topic. Here, he and his peers are guided on expectations for behaviour in the community and amongst their friends. They learn ways to improve their working conditions, and master the skills necessary to protect themselves.

“Through the sessions, I learned that I shouldn’t be expected to carry heavy things at work”, he reports, adding “and if someone annoys me, now I know the right way to defend myself”.

Although his family regard it as essential that he continues to work, the young Qosai has discovered a new approach.

 

Children sitting around in a circle.
Fouad Choufany

“I even started to come home earlier. I started to learn new things, and now play football with my friends”, he smiles.

Of the skills he gained, the most valuable is that Qosai learned how to be a child once again.

 

Kids gathered around on the floor.
Fouad Choufany

Of the skills he gained, the most valuable is that Qosai learned how to be a child once again.

Kids lining up.
Fouad Choufany
Kids raising their hand
Fouad Choufany