Iraqi children scavenge for a living – Photo Journal

Iraqi children scavenge for a living – Photo Journal

The original post and photo journalism was done by Sebation Castelier of Al Jazeera.  My great thanks and appreciation for this article and these photos.

This is the situation that Green fire is addressing through  the "Children of the Landfill" project. It is not just a problem in Iraq it is every country and just outside every city. Open landfills effect one half of the world's population, 3.5 billion people.

If you are interested in participating in this effort to lift these children to inspiration, please join me in the Markethive group “Green Fire”. It is from here that we will start a crowd funding campaign to aid Green Fire in its mission – The Children of the Landfill.

Original article:

After fleeing from ISIL, dozens of young Iraqis spend their days searching through rubbish heaps for valuable scraps.

Sebastian Castelier | 28 Mar 2016 07:38 GMT | Poverty & Development, War & Conflict, Humanitarian crises, Middle East, Iraq

Standing next to a pile of rubbish as high as a hill, Ali, a 12-year-old child from Mosul, looks excitedly at his latest discovery.

"They say it's expired, but I am still eating it," he says, popping a strawberry candy into his mouth.

Like Ali, dozens of displaced Iraqi children who fled from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group are now working in a massive landfill site 15km outside of Erbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdish region. They scavenge their way through tonnes of rubbish to collect plastic and metal to sell to recycling plants, making between 10,000 and 30,000 Iraqi dinars ($9 to $27) a day.

"This is not an appropriate place for children, but they are forced to do it," landfill supervisor Ali Hessah told Al Jazeera, noting he leaves the gates of his dump site open so that displaced children and their parents can work.

"This is not a life, but we have no choice," said Ahmed, 16, who fled Mosul a year and a half ago. No longer in school, Ahmed and his 12-year-old brother are now among the children who scavenge for a living.

"'My parents told me that terrorists came, so we fled,' explained a young scavenger from Mosul. Like dozens of other children, he now works at the Kani Qirzhala dump site, 15km outside of Erbil.
[Sebastian Castelier/Al Jazeera]"

"Iraq's Kurdish region is home to two million internally displaced persons who fled from ISIL.
[Sebastian Castelier/Al Jazeera]"

"Ahmed, 16, fled Mosul with his parents and his 12-year-old brother the day before ISIL overran their city. He works at the landfill nearly every day, from 8am to 2 or 3pm. 'When they take back Mosul, I will be the first to go,' he said, adding he wants to become a doctor. [Sebastian Castelier/Al Jazeera]"

"Many displaced Iraqis arrived in 2014, when ISIL seized large swaths of territory in northern Iraq, including Mosul and Sinjar. [Sebastian Castelier/Al Jazeera]"

"A month ago, Hussein Hamid's two sons, Ali, 13, and Taha, 12, joined him to work in the landfill. 'Because of our situation, I had to take them out of school so they could help,' he said.
[Sebastian Castelier/Al Jazeera]"

"For a large proportion of internally displaced children who are not living in camps, access to education is limited because of school-related costs, as well as a lack of Arabic-language instruction.
[Sebastian Castelier/Al Jazeera]"

"The Kurdistan Regional Government [KRG] requires children to attend school for nine years, typically up to age 15. But under Iraq's education law, children are required to attend school for six years, typically up to age 12. This double standard makes children aged 12 to 15 particularly vulnerable to exploitative child labour practices inside Iraq's Kurdish region, as they are not required to be in school but are not legally permitted to work either. [Sebastian Castelier/Al Jazeera]"

"According to the UN children's fund, UNICEF, law enforcement agencies in Iraq have taken action to combat child labour in all forms, but the KRG does not enforce some of the central government's laws.
[Sebastian Castelier/Al Jazeera]"

"Along with plastic, Shalan, a 12-year-old from Anbar province, also sometimes collects food. 'If it's still closed, it's still good,' he said, holding a loaf of bread wrapped in a plastic bag. Cheese was the best food he ever found, he added. [Sebastian Castelier/Al Jazeera]"

"Ahmed, a 16-year-old from Mosul, says competition can sometimes be high between the young workers, noting one of them 'kicks us and steals our plastic'. [Sebastian Castelier/Al Jazeera]"

"'This is not a place for kids, but what can we do?' asked Delal, a Yazidi woman from Sinjar, whose young nephews and nieces all work in the landfill. Four of her family members were taken by ISIL.
[Sebastian Castelier/Al Jazeera]"

"'There weren't a lot of people before, but after the war, a lot more arrived,' said Ali Hessah, the landfill supervisor. 'They are not supposed to come here, but we let them because of their situation.' He says he has seen rag-pickers as young as four or five years old. [Sebastian Castelier/Al Jazeera]"

"At the end of the day, the scavengers sell their findings to a recycling factory. One factory located near the landfill buys plastic for 100,000 Iraqi dinars ($90) a tonne. [Sebastian Castelier/Al Jazeera]"

"Naswan, the director of a local recycling plant, says he collects four tonnes of second-hand plastic a day, a quarter of which comes from Kani Qirzhala. 'It's saddening to see children working in the landfill. They are not supposed to work there, but the refugees need the money,' he says. [Sebastian Castelier/Al Jazeera]"

"Once it is shredded into chips, the plastic is sold for between $100 and $200 per tonne. According to Naswan, 100 tonnes of plastic is shipped every month from his factory to other regions in Iraq, as well as to Turkey and Iran. [Sebastian Castelier/Al Jazeera]"

Note: Just in case you may have missed any of my previous blog posts, I post here on one of my active projects. It is a new social network for entrepreneurs, completely free, and very unique. It could be a great thing for your business. It is called MarketHive. Just click —-> HERE <—- to find out more.

If you are interested in participating in this effort to lift these children to inspiration, please join me in the Markethive group “Green Fire”. It is from here that we will start a crowd funding campaign to aid Green Fire in its mission – The Children of the Landfill.

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