Dennis Zulu, Chief Program Officer, ILO Office for Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
When news of the first cases of the Ebola outbreak started filtering out of Guinea and Sierra Leone in late 2013, it received little media attention—even here in West Africa. The affected villages were so remote that most people assumed it would be easy to contain.
As someone who travels frequently to Freetown (Sierra Leone), I took a special interest in the news. The village of Kenema, now thought to be the epicentre of the outbreak, was formerly the site of an ILO development project.
A tobacco plantation isn’t a safe or healthy place to work for a child, but it was the only way my family could survive. My parents are poor farmers and barely able to support a family of eight on MK20,000. This is about US$ 50 per year. I had nothing. My parents are tobacco tenants and we all had to work together as a family. I’ve been working in tobacco since I was five. Attending school was never an option for me.
Lina Jesmin Lushai – ILO National Project Officer in Bangladesh
I am one of many indigenous women living and working in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh where thousands struggle to make a living in the beauty, garment and domestic work industries. Most are poor, with little education and lack access to basic healthcare and social protection. In fact, indigenous peoples around the world share these injustices.
But my story is different. I’m 32 years old and I’m from the Lushai community in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. In 2010 I left my family and headed for Dhaka on my own to work as an intern for the International Labour Organization.