According to experts, many minors have been pushed prematurely into the labor market. Schools throughout Jordan have been shut for nearly a year now, and the economic condition from the novel coronavirus pandemic has affected the breadwinners’ adversely.
“As school is shut, I help my family financially,” said Omar, a 14-year-old, wearing a sweater and dirty jeans as he cleaned a heater with his blackened hands. He works tiringly for 12-hour a day at the workshop and drops into bed after a shower and a quick evening meal. He earns three dinars (around $4.25) a day, which helps pay the family’s monthly rent of 130 dinars. His contribution is important because his father, a day laborer, has strived to find work due to the pandemic. But Omar has not given up hope and said he was determined to return to school as soon as possible. “I would love to continue my studies” and ultimately become a pilot, he said. “
The education ministry has declared reopening of schools for next month for kindergarten and some elementary school levels, as well for students in their final year of high school. Everyone else will have to wait until March.
Unicef said that while it had no firm statistics, it assumed many Jordanian children had been forced into dangerous work since the pandemic began, despite it being restricted to employ those under 16.