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An appeal

A Message from the Representative

© UNICEF Malaysia/2009

Take a moment to think back to when you were a child

Remember the annual trip to buy school supplies? The crisp new notebooks … the new pencil case … the rulers and erasers … the brand new school bag.

For many of us, this was an eagerly awaited time of year. A time when we would reunite with our old classmates and meet new friends at a place called school – a place for learning, playing and developing.

But what if circumstances were different? What if you were robbed of this chance to go to school and were sent to work instead?

While this is unthinkable for many of us, it is a reality faced by millions of primary school-aged children around the world, including 125,000 children in Malaysia.

Poverty and the remote locations in which some of these children live are seen as the main factors why children do not go to school.

A child labourer’s story

Hosneara, a 12-year old child labourer in one of the poorest slums in Dhaka, Bangladesh is living proof that education can empower children.

Working as a brick-breaker, she spent most days hitting pieces of red stone with a heavy hammer. “I sometimes hit my fingers and it hurt,” she says. The young girl earned less than RM 1.20 a day.

Two years ago, Hosneara was invited to attend a UNICEF-initiated class for urban working children. Although her father never went to school, he agreed to let both Hosneara and her 9-year old sister Phaki attend. “If I can get them educated, they will be able to defend themselves,” he says.

Since then, Hosneara has learnt to count and says, “the employer used to cheat me on the length and height of the bricks. Now, I have learnt to count. I learnt it at UNICEF’s Hard-to-Reach School.”

Hope through education

The school is a part of the ‘Basic Education for Hard-to-Reach Urban Children’, a program aimed at giving informal education to working children. To date, 339,150 children have benefited.

Our task however is far from over – millions of children are missing an education, and remain trapped in lives of poverty, sickness and discrimination.

These children need your support to help transform their lives. Like Hosneara who hopes to be a doctor one day, they too deserve a chance.

Hosneara's story is one that warms our hearts. It is a story that tells us we’re doing the right thing.

Please support UNICEF. Help us provide children with the tools they need to change their lives. Your donation will help ensure that poverty will not stand in a child’s way.

                                                         Sincerely yours,
                                                       Youssouf Oomar





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