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It's a Goal!

To think about child labour today and to value learning

by Kate Fleming

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To give children the opportunity to compare their lives with those of their counterparts in other cultures, following on from the Victorian child labour assembly. To consider one of our national sports and the price that can be paid by some to fuel this industry. To value opportunities to learn.

Preparation and materials

You will need:

  • A stitched football
  • Music from 'Match of the Day'
  • Map of the world (optional)

Assembly

  1. Play the music from 'Match of the Day' as the children come in. Hold up a football and introduce the theme by saying something like:
    I think everybody knows this music, don't you?
    And you all know what this is (the football).
    Many of you follow football teams and quite a few of you, boys and girls, play football for the school, and for local teams.
    And there's nothing like scoring a goal, is there? Whether it's you doing it on the school football field or whether you are watching Michael Owen or Teddy Sheringham on 'Match of the Day'.

  2. Go on to explain that this morning it's these (show football) that you would like the children to think about. Remind them that in Victorian times many children in this country worked down the mines, in factories, on the land and up chimneys. Explain that this was over a hundred years ago, and it doesn't happen in this country today.

  3. Introduce the story by saying something like: this morning I'm going to tell you about someone your age who stitches these footballs so that he can help to pay for food for his family, his clothes and shoes, and even to fix his bike. Then tell the following story:

    Khalid Hussain is 12 years old. He started stitching footballs four years ago, when he was just eight. He lives in Sialkot, Pakistan, near the border with Kashmir, north-west of the Punjab provinces (show children on the world map).

    This is the centre for the manufacture of footballs. This one was made there, more than likely, indeed it might even have been stitched by Khalid or one of his seven brothers and sisters.

    Khalid lives on a farm with his mother and father, and his brothers and sisters. They are very poor, so Khalid works on the farm and stitches footballs to earn money to keep the family alive. Every day he works very hard, and his hands hurt from stitching.

    Khalid's dream has always been that one day he will be able to go to school, like you, and learn to read and write, to discover the magical world of numbers, to find out why the world is round, why the moon shines at night and the sun during the day. He longs to learn about Pakistan, why it is scorching hot in the summer and bitterly cold in the winter.

    Then, just a few days ago, a knock on the farmhouse door signalled the beginning of Khalid's dream coming true. Sada Qat Furooq, a teacher from the Umang Taleemi Centre, had heard about Khalid and his desire to attend school. In Urdu, the language that Khalid speaks, Umang means hope and Taleemi means education. These are centres that provide education and hope for children like Khalid.

    Sada Qat Furooq's visit to the farm to approach Khalid's parents about him going to school was unexpected. He was met with stony silence from Khalid's parents.

    'It's only for three hours a day,' pleaded Sada Qat. 'He could work for the rest of the day. It would mean so much to him, and eventually to you. Being able to read and write, understand numbers and how to improve lives can only benefit the whole family. If he does well, as I'm sure he will,' continued Sada, 'it is possible that he might get sponsorship from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Sialkot.'

    Khalid's heart was pounding as he watched the expressions on his parents' faces. His mother sighed a weary sigh, 'I know you're right, Mr Furooq, but what about the money? We rely on Khalid, he is such a good hard-working boy.'

    'And he will continue to be so,' said the young teacher, 'but he will be even more able and a greater support to you when he has some education.'

    Silence fell on the family once again. Khalid and Sada Qat Furooq waited.

    Khalid's parents looked hard into each other's faces, and there was silent agreement. His father nodded and turned away.

    'We are happy that Khalid attends school for three hours a day.' His mother's face shone with pride as she whispered the words that Khalid had longed to hear. Sada Qat Furooq was delighted. 'Welcome. Welcome, Khalid, to the wonderful world of education. This is the first day of your new life.'

    So the next day Khalid started school. He is doing very well. He still manages to help on the farm and stitch footballs. The difference is that his life now has Umang Taleemi - education and hope.

  4. Conclude the assembly by asking the children to think about the story - a true story from the world today. What does it say to them? Ask them to think about this in a short time of silence.

 

Time for reflection

Dear God,
There are children in some parts of the world who do not have what we have - the chance to go to school, to learn.
Some of them have to work all day and get very little money for it.
Help us to learn more about the lives of others and to appreciate all that we have.
Help us all to work for a fairer world.
Amen.

Song/music

'It's the springs' (Come and Praise, 82)

Curriculum links

PSE, Geography

Publication date: March 2001   (Vol.3 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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