While the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has routinely strived to support people in extreme poverty by improving their health and economic mobility through various programs, the foundation may have gone off the deep end by bizarrely sponsoring an article that promotes child labor.
The article in question was published in The Guardian’s “Global Development” section on Friday is titled “Child labour doesn’t have to be exploitation – it gave me life skills.” Underneath the header, a logo of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is visible with text that says, “Global development is supported by” the foundation.
Written by Elizabeth Sibale, the deputy chief of party at global impact firm Palladium, praises her childhood experience in Malawi, doing hard work for her family – such as food prepping, carrying water, and babysitting her siblings – as an example of the hard work she did to mold her into the women she is today.
“However, where do you draw the line between what has internationally deemed a crime and a natural process of transferring skills? Is international concern on child rights relevant to Africa?” Sibale said.
She said, “contrary to popular belief, most child labourers are employed by their parents rather than in manufacturing or the formal economy.”
Adding that “in Africa, where many areas have no social security or social services to support the vulnerable, families are responsible for educating and training the next generation to become capable adults.”
RT News points out that her opinion piece “was apparently built on discussions at a seminar held last month by Palladium. The point that cultures have different norms on what work should be considered appropriate for a child is hardly debatable.”
RT, quoting the International Labor Organization, says child work that impeeds education or is hazardous is a form of child labor.
“The crux of the issue is how to treat dirt-poor parents, who keep their kids out of classrooms because they are needed to support the household. Sibale and her colleagues argue that westerners should mind their cultural biases when looking at domestic chores,” RT said.
Apparently, some on Twitter were not pleased with the article, saying: “billionaire-funded ‘child labor is good’ takes has to be a new stage of capitalist dystopia.”
billionaire-funded ‘child labor is good’ takes has to be a new stage of capitalist dystopia pic.twitter.com/yfXOe6A1gJ