Challenges Facing Children in Education and Labour: Case Study of Displaced Children in Khartoum-Sudan

Article excerpt


The civil war in Sudan and the natural disasters of drought, famine and desert forming, led to the displacement of many people. The number of displaced people that now live in and around Khartoum is estimated at 2.2 million, half of whom are under the age of 18. They live in barren, remote peri-urban areas surrounding Khartoum. Displaced children face many challenges in finding ways to live and survive. One of the greatest of these is how to meet their basic needs of food, shelter, health, and education. The majority of displaced children work. Some work and go to school while others just work. Children go to work because life is expensive and they must support themselves and their siblings or even their parents.

In this paper the researcher will discuss how displaced children fight and struggle for their right to education. There are cultural, social, and economic reasons for children's lack of access to education. This paper discusses the problems that displaced children face when they have to combine work and school, and why this leads to a high drop-out rate. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified by Sudan in 1990, but still results are not what were expected and children face many challenges. The paper also argues that if laws concerning child labour in Sudan were complied with and enforced, then child labour would be minimal or non-existent.

This paper will present the experiences of two children aged 13 and 14 who both work and attend school and the challenges that they face in combining work and school. The obstacles that displaced children lace in life will be discussed and recommendations will be presented to help solve the problem.



Sudan is one of the countries that have undergone severe crises such as war and natural disasters that affected the population and caused deterioration in the political, economic and social status of the country. One of the effects of these crises was the displacement of persons. The most affected by displacement are the women and children. Children are the most vulnerable.

Displaced children lace many challenges in meeting their basic needs. One of the important rights for children according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child signed by Sudan is education, but children must struggle to obtain it and they face many problems in accessing education. Factors hindering education for children are economic, social and cultural. In order to be able to go to school, the majority of displaced children work. They work to support their families and pay their educational expenses. However, combining work and school faces them with numerous problems. In this paper, the researcher would like to examine the difficulties that children lace in education and labour. The paper will discuss the factors that hinder children to make use of their educational rights and why there is a high drop-out rate from schools, especially among girls. The paper also discusses the law in respect of child labour in Sudan and the lack of compliance and enforcement of these measures, allowing employers to use children in hazardous jobs affecting their physical, emotional and menial health.

The researcher will present the case studies of two displaced children in Khartoum.

Before analysing these some background information on Sudan and on displaced children will be given. Then the researcher will relate the legal provisions to the specific situation of children in Mayo Farm camp, and analyse the case studies. The researcher will conclude the paper with some recommendations.

The Case of Akol Deng

Akol Deng is a 13-year-old girl from the Dinka tribe from Southern Sudan. Forced to flee due to the war in the South, she came with her family to Khartoum when she was 3 years old. She now lives with her mother and four younger brothers. She started school at the age of nine and is now in grade four in primary education. …