Dream or Trauma?

Dream or Trauma?

Childhood in ‘Third World’ countries
has many facets and for the majority of children differs from that in industrialized countries. There is the minority of children mainly from the upper social classes, who
grow up like little princes and princesses, surrounded by servants from the
poorer segments of society. These servants are often commanded around, they
are, as a sociologist from El Salvador termed it, cheaper than washing
machines and accordingly treated with less care. These children often grow up
in a world full of luxury, nourished by the sharp social differences within
‘Third World’ countries, and in a world of imported technology which is
supposed to help them to a profession later on in their lives. Another minority
of children of the upper and middle classes start kindergarten at the age of 3 or
4 in order to get prepared for a better start at school. They are supposed to get
used to school discipline and to acquire knowledge relevant for school at the
earliest age possible, as is the case in the Cameroons.
For most children in the South childhood is a period of quickly growing into
little adults. At the age of 4, girls start to assume household tasks, take care of
their little brothers and sisters, to replace their mother in the house when she
is engaged in agricultural work or help her with field work, livestock and
handicraft work. Little boys are sent on errands, have to look after the cattle
or help merchants and craftsmen doing odd jobs. Depending on the cultural and
socio-economic living conditions as well as gender specific work division, they
are given jobs in the fields, in the production and processing of food, the
making of tools, in the production of art objects or consumer goods, in the
construction of houses or in retail and street commerce.
Schools in ‘Third World’ countries
have become a trauma for many children and adolescents as well as for their parents
and teachers. At the same time school remains a dream linked to better living
conditions – for shoe shine boys in Bolivia who proudly pay their own school
fees from the little money they earn (Troeller), for the street children in Sri
Lanka who insisted in naming the centre that was established for them a
"school" (Jayaweera 1993), for the millions of children who are excluded and
also for the pupils who, despite the heavy drillings they endure at school, still
remain optimistic and think that the experience school provides them is worth
the trouble.

Renate Nestvogel

Posted by Fiaz Tariq on 2008-09-21 12:22:02

Tagged: , Fiaz , Fiaz Tariq , Fiaz Tariq Photography , 2010 , 2009 , Lahore , Punjab , Pakistan , Nikon , Nikon D300 , Montee

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