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Brick Kiln Schools
There are about 700 brick kilns around Peshawar and on average each kiln employs 120 people of different ages who make up 20 to 30 families living in mud houses. Most are contract workers and are paid per 1000 bricks produced. The whole family including children and women work to optimise income.
Most of the workers are “bonded” which means that they owe a lot of money to the owner of the brick kiln and unless the owners are paid what is owed it is impossible for the contract workers to move to a different site. The wages are very low making it very difficult to earn a decent amount even if the whole family works for more than 15 hrs per day. There are various types of work in a brick kiln including making green brick from mud, drying the bricks, transportation of the bricks to the kiln, arranging them in the kiln, cooking the bricks, extraction of the cooked bricks and the various types of work are paid at different rates. On average a worker and his family will earn approximately £2 per day.
The workers are not paid for any lost time due to rain or any other disruption. The brick kiln workers are the poorest of the poor and there are no national or international yardsticks to compare with their status.
The infrastructure around the brick kilns is very primitive and there are no civic services such as schools and dispensaries available. These families live in very small houses which are not only overcrowded but also poorly ventilated. The workers and the families suffer from different health problems including: skin conditions, anemia, asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, hypertension, malaria, gastroenteritis and TB. The brick kiln workers are 4 times more likely to have chest problems compared to the local population. On average 30 tons of low quality coal, 6 tons of wood and 12 tons of rubber are burnt in each kiln per cycle to cook 5 to 6 million bricks with emissions of tons of visible air pollutants. The quality of the air is so bad in these kilns that for a new comer it is very difficult to breathe let alone work.
The children who live on site have no access to schools and are forced into child labour. The families would love to send their children (both boys and girls) to school as they know that this is the only way out of the poverty cycle but there are no successful permanent schools available at this time to realise their dreams.