Asia and the Middle East: Rampant Political Crackdowns and Instability
Many issues related to the Syrian Civil War have not been extensively covered – there are stateless families stuck in Lebanon because they can’t prove their nationality – determined by paternal patronage and they left without their husbands and fathers, who had died or were forced to become soldiers.
On the other side of the region, The Uighurs in Western China are now detained in “Re-education Camps” so that they swear loyalty to the regime. This is a region that is plagued by dictatorships, military leadership and political instability.
Challenges for Children: Exploitation and Child Labor
Many children have to abandon any prospects of going to school to work. It is estimated that as many as 7 percent of the Indonesian children between the ages of 5 and 14 are involved in child labor. Exploitation in other areas is another issue, prostitution being chief among them.
The forced prostitution is particularly rampant among children who run away from home without any support system and nowhere else to turn. Other children are abducted and victims of human trafficking, smuggled internally or into neighboring countries.
Our Work in the Region: Youth Empowerment
On a long-term scale, the SOS is committed to ensuring that all the children benefit from equality of opportunity, being able to go to school, get an education and determine their own future for themselves. Liberated and free from economic and sexual exploitation. This is done through 173 Children’s Villages, 159 education programs and 114 family strengthening programs as well as many other services. In Asia alone, SOS is present in 12 countries.
This is accomplished through a variety of services including special homes where the young adults live until they are ready to embark on an independent life. They are guided, support and encouraged throughout the entire process.
Ensuring Equality of Opportunity:
It is also accomplished through education. Children throughout the region have the opportunity to join SOS Kindergartens as well as Hermann Gneimer’s schools. School attendance is improving partly because of SOS schools, but only 72 percent of children between the ages of six and ten attend primary school in India. A lesser proportion attend secondary school. Moreover, only 48 percent of the female population in India, compared to 73 percent of the male, is literate.
Progress across the region in terms of improving the lives of children is slow. There is a long way to ensure equality of opportunity, let alone equity of being.