iServi News | 9 August 2019 | Term 3, Week 3
Year 11 student Christine Celestino (SE 7) competed in Speak for Faith, the Catholic Schools Speaking Competition, hosted by Catholic Education Western Australia and sponsored by the Catenian Association in Western Australia.
The competition invites Catholic school students to express their faith and the Catholic ethos while developing their public speaking skills. Each competitor has five minutes to speak on his/her prepared topic. Immediately afterwards, the adjudicators provide the contestant with an unseen topic on which, after a few minutes of preparation, the student speaks for up to two minutes.
Christine chose a topic that was close to her heart. She spoke with great courage and passion. Her speech indicated deep learning, solid preparation and a readiness to speak with conviction. We invite you to read Christine’s speech below.
Thank you to Ms Rebecca Waters for mentoring Christine in the lead up to the competition and Ms Sarah Payne for supporting her on the day.
Ms Melissa Plant
(Acting) Head of Learning Area – Religious Education
Speak for Faith 2019 – Christine Celestino
It is terrifying to think that as we sit in our chairs, right at this moment, millions of children are enduring long hours of suffering, pain and exhaustion, working for just as little as $1 a day. Would you work for just $1 a day?
Hearing this, you may view it as child abuse, torment or injustice. These children simply see it as their day to day lives.
Child labour, two small words that happen to be the reality of the lives of millions of children all over the world. What’s even worse about this is that these children are being forgotten. According to the United Nations international children’s emergency fund, 32% of children aged between 5 and 17 in Africa are subject to these harsh conditions. 32%. A number that is far too high.
Child labour does not only affect the child’s physical health but also can drag them into a vicious cycle of poverty, a lack of education and more damagingly can strip them of their human dignity. As Christians, you may be wondering how, how can I put an end to this issue in society? We are able to make a difference in this dark world and provide a light at the end of the tunnel for the innocent children affected by child labour by promoting awareness, donating time or money to Catholic organisations that fight for the rights of helpless children and by having faith in the almighty God and his powers.
With the power of our voices we are all capable of raising awareness of all kinds of issues in society, including child labour. Using our powerful voices to speak out for those whose voices are silenced, we show that we care and are trying to make a difference, but we also fulfil the second great commandment given to us by Jesus Christ. Speaking out against child labour demonstrates loving our neighbours as we love ourselves. We are showing love by being the voices of the voiceless.
To me, a quality childhood is growing up loved, educated and knowing that I have a future that is valued. To these children, a quality childhood is simply a day where they are not forced into long, strenuous hours of illegal and sometimes dangerous work. Well known corporations such as Caritas, The Salvation Army and St Vincent De Paul work to alleviate the stress of child labour. By supporting these organisations through donating both time and money, we can work towards giving hope and a future to the children of this world. We can become involved with organisations that work to put an end to the amount of children working for less than they are worth, in inhumane conditions, simply for our pleasure and convenience.
Faith is believing and trusting in something that we cannot see. This resonates with me as I have seen firsthand, the power of faith. As my mother grew up, she faced a string of hardships and had to endure the loss of both parents which resulted in her falling below the poverty line, lacking an education and forced into child labour. After crashing to rock bottom, she placed her trust in God through prayer. A life she once thought would not change, took a turn for the better as she was given the opportunity to start a new life here in this peaceful country, Australia.
People might believe that some children have to work in order to provide for their families and therefore these working conditions are part of life. However, my question to you is how would you feel if your child went out to work each day and was subject to dirty, illegal and dangerous working conditions for your benefit? Large companies think it is okay to employ children in order to reduce their costs. What they do not realise is that they are stripping these children of the inherent dignity that they were born with as Children of God and that their actions whilst they may seem justifiable, are inhumane and incredibly damaging.
I would like to leave you with one final question – what are YOU doing to reduce child labour in today’s society and ensure a bright future for the next generation?
Christine Celestino (SE7)