Monday, August 30, 2010

The Good Guys ?

In 1994, more than 800,000 people, mostly members of the ethnic Tutsi group in Rwanda, were slaughtered by the Hutu. Then when a Tutsi-led government seized power in Rwanda, Hutu militias fled along with Hutu civilians across the border to Congo. Rwanda invaded to pursue them, aided by a Congolese rebel force. Although Rwanda and Congolese forces claimed that they attacked Hutu militias who were sheltered among civilians, the United Nations report documents deliberate reprisal attacks on civilians. The report asserts that there was no effort to make a distinction between militia and civilians, noting a “tendency to put all Hutu people together and ‘tar them with the same brush.’ ”

The report says that the apparently systematic nature of the massacres “suggests that the numerous deaths cannot be attributed to the hazards of war or seen as equating to collateral damage.” It continues, “The majority of the victims were children, women, elderly people and the sick, who were often undernourished and posed no threat to the attacking forces.” The report contains a chilling, detailed accounting of the breakup of Hutu refugee camps at the start of the war in October 1996, followed by the pursuit of hundreds of thousands of Hutu refugees across the country’s vast hinterland by teams of Rwandan soldiers and the Alliance des Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Congo. Those forces were led by Laurent Kabila, who took over as president the next year, and who was the father of Congo’s current president, Joseph Kabila. The report presents repeated examples of times when teams of Rwandan soldiers and their Congolese allies lured Hutu refugees with promises they would be repatriated to Rwanda, only to massacre them. Extermination teams laid ambush along strategic roadways and forest paths, making no distinction between men, women and children as they killed them.

Timothy Longman, the director of the African Studies Center at Boston University, said that people in eastern Congo had long charged they were victims, too. “The reason it didn’t get more attention is that it contradicted the narrative of the Rwandan Popular Front as the ‘good group’ that stopped the genocide in Rwanda,”

christian dictatorships

Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill was introduced by parliament member David Bahati in October 2009. The bill seeks to eradicate homosexuality from Uganda and become a model for the rest of Africa. Among the proposals in the bill: prison terms for Ugandans who fail to report a homosexual within 24 hours; lifelong prison sentences for a single homosexual act; and the death sentence for a range of acts, including having gay sex while HIV-positive, having gay sex with a disabled person or being classified as a "serial offender" — that is, someone who has gay sex more than once.

Bahati is one of the Uganda leaders of an American evangelical movement called the Fellowship, or the Family — the secretive fellowship of powerful Christian politicians who wield considerable political influence, both in Washington and abroad. They support the idea of government being decided by small groups of elite leaders like Bahati, getting together and trying to conform government to their idea of Biblical law. A project to eradicate homosexuality in Uganda they hope will become a model for all of Africa.

American pastor Lou Engle, who leads a big Christian right group called The Call, said, "This is ground zero of the great war with homosexuality."

Bahati said that he wanted "to kill every last gay person."

Orwell's South Africa

Some reent developoments in South Africa re-affirms that the State exists to be the mouth-piece of the capitalist class.In recent years South Africa's press has been increasingly occupied by the rise of the "tenderpreneurs" – a new, wealthy elite who use their political connections to benefit from state contracts through the largely discredited Black Economic Empowerment programme that was meant to improve the lot of disadvantaged blacks but has helped to create a new, narrow elite. A company headed by Jacob Zuma's 28-year-old son Duduzane was shown to have received more than £80m in shares from Arcelor-Mittal. The company said the stake in the South African arm of the steel giant was allocated for "strategic assistance" with meeting its BEE requirements. Other beneficiaries included the reported girlfriend of the deputy president and an "empowerment advisory counsel" to the President. ANC Youth League Julius Malema boasts about his lavish lifestyle and links to firms that have earned millions of pounds in state contracts.

The South African government has been accused of resorting to censorship policies reminiscent of the Apartheid era in a bid to silence its critics in the media. The ruling African National Congress is pushing a series of measures which would, opponents say, undermine freedom of speech, criminalise investigative reporting and threaten whistleblowers in the civil service with lengthy prison sentences. The Protection of Information Bill, currently before parliament, where the ANC holds a two-thirds majority, is part of two-pronged effort to bring the media under closer control. The second stage is a proposed Media Tribunal which would make South Africa's press – often accused by the government of being anti-ANC – answerable to parliament.The information bill would give the power to heads of government agencies to classify whole swathes of information on the grounds that it was in the "national interest". This would then make disclosure of related information a criminal offence punishable with up to 25 years in prison. Lawyers are concerned with the vague language employed in the current draft with the national interest defined in terms such as "the survival and security of the state". The country's leading legal body, the General Council of the Bar, said several provisions of the bill were "plainly contrary" to freedoms enshrined in its constitution.

A petition of writers whose work was banned under the Apartheid regime drafted by Gordimer, André Brink, Njabulo Ndebele, John Kani and Achmat Dangor explain that "We are threatened again, now with a gag over the word processor." The writers described the tribunal as the "descent of a shutter over the dialogue of the arts" and the creation of the "Word Police". Critics accuse the ANC of exhibiting a paranoid tendency in response to legitimate journalistic criticism of abuses of power.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We need change

Agriculture is the most important source of livelihood throughout Africa, accounting for more than 70% of total employment. And 65% of that figure is made up of women farmers.

With one-quarter of the world's arable land, Africa produces only 10% of its total global output. More than 265 million people are still chronically hungry, yet Africa is estimated to hold 60% of the world's remaining uncultivated farmland.

Only 4% of farmland in sub-Saharan Africa is irrigated. In eastern and southern Africa, an estimated 596.7m hectares are suitable for irrigation, yet only 2% of this land has any irrigation system in place.

200 million Africans who rely on livestock for their livelihoods, or 20% of the total population and 70% of the rural poor. Livestock producers often work in difficult cross-border environments, and their success frequently depends on their ability to move freely.

Africa has the means to feed itself.

Monday, August 23, 2010

profits before people

A food crisis in Niger is being made worse by hoarders who sell grain at prices beyond the reach of most people, Save the Children says. Traders are buying grain cheaply from farmers as soon as it is harvested. They then hoard it for several months, waiting until grain runs into short supply. Farmers are then forced to buy their own crops back at hugely inflated prices. Many cannot afford it and they go hungry.

"These traders are using market fluctuations to make a profit at the expense of ordinary people," said Josh Leighton, food security and livelihoods officer at Save the Children. "They are helping to fuel the current food crisis and are putting hundreds of thousands of children's lives at risk."

300,000 children under the age of five in Niger are acutely malnourished, and aid agencies are struggling to feed them. Floods have left more than 100,000 people homeless across the country.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

America, africom and africa

The United States’ interest in Africa is driven by America’s desire to secure valuable natural resources and political influence that will ensure the longevity of America’s capitalist system, military and global economic superiority – achieved through the financial and physical control of raw material exports. The U.S. has a long history of foreign intervention and long ago perfected the art of gaining access to other countries’ natural, human, and capital resource markets through the use of foreign trade policy initiatives, international law, diplomacy, and, when all else fails, military intervention. But diplomatic efforts have largely been sufficient for the U.S. to establish influence over other nations’ politics and economies.

Access to natural resources – particularly oil and rare earth elements - is critical for the U.S. to remain a dominant industrial and military power, especially since the U.S. has experienced a decline in natural resource production while China’s production and foreign access to strategic materials has only increased. A sustained increase in oil imports has been underway since domestic U.S. oil production peaked in the 1970s, with oil imports surpassing domestic production in the early 1990s. Strategic metals, such as the titanium used in military aircraft, and rare earth elements used in missile guidance systems are increasingly produced by China or under the control of Chinese companies. The issue is of such importance that 2009 saw the creation of the annual Strategic Metals Conference, a forum designed to address concerns related to US access to metals with important industrial and military uses. The second annual conference, held in Cleveland, Ohio in January 2010, saw dozens of engineers and military personnel express heightened concern over China’s near monopoly over rare earth metals. China controls around 95% of the world’s rare earth output and has decided to restrict the export of these metals, leaving international consumers short by approximately 20,000 tons in 2010.

The demand for raw materials has led to new policy initiatives in which Africa has taken center stage for Chinese investment. China has gained access to Africa by, in large part, offering favorable aid packages to several nations which include loans, debt forgiveness, and job training. In contrast to Western aid packages, Chinese aid has few if any strings attached. China’s platform for developing trade with and providing aid to Africa was of such importance that in October 2000, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was launched. Fifty African nations participate in the forum which serves as the foundation for building bridges of economic trade as well as political and cultural exchange. Africans see Chinese influence as being far more positive than U.S. influence.

Russia has also taken a renewed interest in Africa. Putin’s push to restore Russia’s international stature, power, and prestige has led Russia to purchase in excess of $5 billion of African assets between 2000 and 2007.

In November 2002, the U.S. based Corporate Council on Africa held a conference on African oil and gas in Houston, Texas. The conference, sponsored by ExxonMobil and ChevronTexaco among others, was opened by United States Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Walter Kansteiner. Mr. Kansteiner previously stated that, “African oil is of strategic national interest to us and it will increase and become more important as we go forward,” while on a visit to Nigeria. With all of the concern over U.S. access to key natural resources, it is hardly a surprise that United States conceived of and finally launched United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) in 2007. The unveiling AFRICOM was done under the auspices of bringing peace, security, democracy, and economic growth to Africans. The altruistic rationale for the creation of a new military command was belied by the fact that from the start it was acknowledged that AFRICOM was a “combatant” command created in response to Africa’s growing strategic importance to the United States; namely, “the size of its population, its natural resource wealth, its potential". In fact, President Fradique de Menezes of Sao Tome and Principe said at that time that he had reached agreement with the United States for establishment of a U.S. naval base there, the purpose of which was to safeguard U.S. oil interests. Menezes revealed the new model for U.S. military outposts abroad. He stated, "It is not really a military base on our territory, but rather a support port for aircraft, warships and patrol ships so that they can come to this port and stay for some time." Since the establishment of AFRICOM, numerous training exercises have been carried out in Africa by U.S. military forces, and basing agreements have been worked out with several African partners across the continent – even in the face of strong dissent from the citizens of several countries. The U.S. has been able to create these relationships through the careful structuring of its operations, size and make-up of its staff, and public relations efforts.

Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, a key military outpost and strategically important piece of real-estate in the Horn of Africa, precisely where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden, the United States government entered into an agreement with the government of Djibouti that has several striking features:
· U.S. military personnel have diplomatic immunity
· The United States has sole jurisdiction over the criminal acts of its personnel
· U.S. personnel may carry arms in the Republic of Djibouti
· The U.S. may import any materials and equipment it requires into the Republic of Djibouti
· No claims may be brought against the U.S. for damage to property or loss of life
· Aircraft, vessels, and vehicles may enter, exit, and move freely throughout the Republic of Djibouti.

Such an agreement allows the U.S. to maintain a small permanent presence in Djibouti, but staff and stock up with as many military personnel and weapons as it deems fit for any particular operation inside or outside of Africa as needed. Additionally, the agreement gives the U.S. the flexibility it wants to operate freely without interference from or liability to the people and government of Djibouti. The small size and staff of U.S. basing operations like Camp Lemonier is the new model for U.S. Forward Operating Locations (FOLs). FOLs are “smaller, cheaper, and can thus be more plentiful. In short, the FOL can lie in wait with a low carrying cost until a crisis arrives, at which point it can be quickly expanded to rise to whatever the occasion demands.” Arrangements have been made with several countries, north, south, east, and west, including Gabon, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia, Namibia, Sao Tome, Senegal, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Zambia. A leaner, smaller, less intrusive, and more culturally engaged network of military outposts is America’s new blueprint for foreign intervention and global domination.

U.S. officials have long recognised African hostility to any efforts that could be perceived as neo-colonialist and imperialist. AFRICOM’s staffing structure is a military-civilian hybrid for two reasons: to convey the message that the combatant command does not have an exclusive military purpose, and to gain influence over African nations’ domestic and foreign policies. AFRICOM has a civilian deputy commander and a large civilian staff, in part made up of U.S. State Department personnel. These civilian personnel include foreign policy advisors from the U.S. Bureau of African Affairs, humanitarian assistance advisors from the U.S. Agency for International Development, as well as advisors from the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Department of Homeland Security. To overcome poor public relations, the command built several activities into the structure of AFRICOM, to include the building of schools in poor villages, air and sea port construction projects, the distribution of medicine and textbooks to children, military-to-military training programs, and legal operational support. The U.S. Army War College published a research paper in March 2008, entitled “Combating African Questions about the Legitimacy of AFRICOM”. It called for the increased use of “soft power that could be leverage by the U.S. Department of State in winning the public relations fight for Africa." The structure and domestic operations of AFRICOM also makes it more palatable to African leaders.

Taken mostly from here

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Socialist Banner read this article from Vince Musewe, an independent Zimbabwean economist based in South Africa.

He made these observations about Zimbabwe:

"In our naiveté in 1980 we assumed that once and for all the colonial master's hold on our economy and social life was now history and it was time to witness the rise and rise of a liberal and democratic social economy led by the new black generation who had been waiting in the wings for some time...However, we have seen the rise and rise of a black capitalist class whose behavior and interests mimic those of our colonial masters. We have seen the merging of the state and Zanu PF and a central command directing all social and economic activity to ensure that the party and the state remain as one."

And added these comments about South Africa:

"...the ANC-backed black capitalist class who in my view, as shown in Zimbabwe, are prone to behave in no way different to the very white capitalist class they seek to replace as they usurp economic control hiding under nationalisation or the misguided broad-based economic empowerment platform."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Animals and tourism before people

Prof Rosaleen Duffy from the University of Manchester, who has researched the issue for 15 years says the development of nature tourism has meant international pressure to save high-profile species is intense. Some conservation groups regard the protection of the gorilla, rhino and other endangered species as more important than human life. Subsistence hunting is banned in many parks and often only tourists with hunting licences on safari are permitted to kill animals. This can mean local people are regarded as threats to the wildlife that have to be halted at almost any cost. Private security firms and mercenaries were being used to train game rangers. Some conservation organisations in Africa are operating a shoot-to-kill policy against poachers. Military-style campaigns were occurring across the continent.

"Because private military operations and also park rangers are given authority to shoot on sight, the suspected poachers, then they can shoot first and ask questions later," she told the BBC."I think what happens then is that local people get justifiably very angry about people being shot because they're suspected of poaching whereas in fact what they might be doing is simply taking a short cut through a national park or they might be collecting grass for thatch."

Monday, August 16, 2010

The land grabbing - who profits ?

Howard Buffet , the son of the one of the richest billionaires in the world makes this interesting observation about the great African Land Grab

"It is estimated that 50 million hectares have already been leased to foreign entities with at least 20 African countries considering similar deals. Some of these leases—99 years at $1.00 per hectare—are unbelievable deals. But they are only available to a select few. Local farmers—people who struggle to feed their families, gain access to fertile land and secure water for both personal consumption and agricultural activity—are not eligible for the deals being promoted in countries where millions of people remain dependent on food aid.

Just a few months ago I was personally offered an equity stake in a land deal being brokered by a hedge fund. I was assured that the partners would receive cash up-front with no personal liability. I was also promised that the host government would provide 70 percent of the financing, all utilities, and a 98-year lease requiring no payments for four years. The cost? $2.91 per acre per year after four years. Another fund provided a prospectus that claimed it would generate returns of between 15 and 20 percent. U.S. agricultural land has averaged a return of about six percent over the past thirty years. Therefore, these deals are either that good for investors, or the managers of these funds are misrepresenting the facts. If I didn’t know better, this would sound like a great opportunity! But here’s what I’m sure of: these deals will make the rich richer and the poor poorer, creating clear winners who benefit while the losers are denied their livelihoods."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Independence for what ?

2010 is the year 17 countries celebrate 50 years of independence since colonial rule. Independence anniversaries in post-colonial countries used to be a time of celebration for those workers who believed they were commemorating their freedom. Africans resisted the colonialists on grounds of segregation, slavery, exploitation and domination. But today African countries still struggle with development and human rights issues and the governments in power have done nothing to change the situation.

Ghana was the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence on March 6, 1957. In Ghana 45 percent of the population live on less than $1 a day and 79 percent on less than $2 a day.

The Somali Democratic Republic received its independence from Italy on July 1, 1960 when they joined with their northern neighbour, Somaliland, who had gained independence from the British on June 26, 1960. In Somalia 60% population lives below the $1 per day poverty line. An estimated 40 percent of the population were in need of relief assistance in 2009 - the largest proportion of the population requiring relief of any country in the world. Somalia has the worst health indicators in Africa with less than 0.5 doctors and two nurses per 100,000 people.

On June 30, 2010, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) celebrated 50 years of independence. In Congo 70 percent of the population live in poverty. Congo was ranked 139 out of 177 countries in the 2007 UNDP Human Development Index. Life expectancy is 52.8 years and 49 percent of the population do not have access to an improved water source. Infant mortality rates are estimated at 93.86 deaths per 1,000 live births. In 2003 the adult HIV infection rate was estimated at 4.9%, with 100,000 deaths from the disease in the same year.

Burkina Faso received independence from France in August 1960. Burkina Faso is ranked by the World Bank as the 13th poorest country in the world in 2002. The UNDP's 2005 Human Development Index ranked it at 175 out of 177 countries. Life expectancy is 47.5 years.

Independence solved none of the problems resulting from exploitation. Independence for the vast majority has simply meant the exchange of one set of exploiters for another. Nothing changed except the personnel of the State machinery. Poverty in the midst of a potential for plenty remains a running sore, exploitation and massive disparities of wealth continue to exist. Environmental degradation continues virtually unabated. Independence will not solve the peasant or working-class problems, only the establishment of socialism can do that. The festering of tribalist, nationalist and racist sentiment are nurtured and sustained by the capitalist system of production which produces only for profits and not for needs. Religion, secessionist movements and nationalism are generally tools used by the ruling classes to perpetrate the status quo. But the only solution is to uproot the real cause of the problems – the overthrow of the unjust economic system in operation in today's world. Socialism will depend on contribution to society by individuals based on individuals' ability and individuals will take from society according to their self-determined needs. It's time for the people of Africa to discover the truth, that they need to unite and fight for socialism. The struggle remains the same – the class struggle. Masters are uneasy when servants are awake.

See also Financial wizards or great pretenders?

Thursday, August 05, 2010

No easy escape from poverty

People are still stuck in poverty despite the intervention of multilateral organisations.

Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) were initiated in 1999 by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for the eradication of poverty in Heavily Indebted Poor Countries. However, research shows that PRSPs are failing to deliver. Millions of dollars have been spent on development programmes that are having no real impact on the ground. Research suggests little or no political will to take forward policies that benefit the poor and marginalized. At the same time, the process has suffered from corruption and misuse of funds, with little accountability to the populations of recipient countries. More than 10 years on, PRSPs have thus failed to move communities out of poverty and, crucially, have largely ignored the plight of minorities and indigenous peoples, who are usually among the most marginalized and poor. The report gave two specific examples.

The Endorois of Kenya , who have been removed from their ancestral lands by successive governments, remain impoverished, with elevated levels of illiteracy, high HIV prevalence, poor health, and high maternal and child mortality rates.
The Karamoja of Uganda, the study found that they still lack basic social services and have endured marginalisation from the political, social and economic mainstream of Uganda despite a long-standing poverty reduction plan in the country.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

In Capitalism Death is a Profitable Business

The Killing industries are making profits by selling arms to the third world countries when analysing arms trade to the third world, there is one fundamental question which precedes all others; why have the Third World countries felt a need to buy weapons in the first place? And why is it that the disastrous armament policies of the Western Capitalist countries over the past 100 years and the resulting bloodshed of two World Wars have not discouraged the Third World from adopting the same militarists’ policies?

Colonialism-Legacy of Militarism

The legacy of Colonialism has been a prime ingredient in killing a demand for weapons, particularly in Africa and Asia. During the pre-independence period, most colonies were disarmed by the imperial powers in order to prevent military uprisings from population. The absence of a national armoury stung the pride of new governments in countries which became independent in the 1950s and 1960s. Many therefore strove to establish indigenous armed forces where none had existed previously. This policy immediately preresnted problems as none of the countries concerned had any industrial base for producing weapons locally. At that time, the only source of modern weapons was (and usually still is) the industrialised, former colonial powers, of the west. Thus, when it came to equipping newly formed armed forces in the Third World, the governments concerned imported the weapons from abroad.

When looking more closely at Third World militarisation one finds that the scars of colonialism run very deep. For example, the borders of countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East that became independent after 1945, were invariably based on artificial borders relating to the different colonial powers’ spheres of influence and not to any natural geographical divisions between peoples and cultures. This meant that many newly independent states contained several different ethnic and religious groups with which the newly independent government had to compete for its citizens loyalties. Under such conditions, the armed forces and their imported weapons came to be regarded as the symbol of unity and national pride.

In many newly independent states, the educated middle class elites who had acquired political power actually strove to model themselves on their former colonial masters, in military as much as in civil matters. This was to be expected as many of the leaders of these States had been trained in institutions like the British military College of Sandhurst.

Military rule:

Most newly independent governments started off on a very weak footing, rooted as they were in foreign colonial systems rather than indigenous forms of government. Their fragility has since been accentuated by their subsequent failure to represent the interests of the majority of their populations. In the process of decolonisation, the imperial powers tended to transfer political and economic power to wealthy, western educated and sympathetic elites.

In many countries, the armed forces have become so powerful that they have managed to seize power from civilian governments. For example, most African States are ruled either by military governments or by governments of mixed military and civilians. It’s this military influence which partly explains the willingness of some countries to spend money on armaments rather than on economic development. The per Capita military expenditures of military dominated governments are enormously high.

Perceptions of defence

Third World States generally perceive themselves to be more vulnerable than their counterparts (in the industrial world). The reasons behind this sense of vulnerability are manifold. They range from internal tensions such as those between rich and poor or between different ethnic groups to territorial disputes with surrounding countries and perceived external political threats, such as a revolution or a military coup in neighbouring countries. Whatever the cause of the tension, the response is much the same as it has been in Europe at times of major political upheaval: rearmament.

Arms Races:

Importing arms to bolster security usually creates further insecurity, as neighbouring countries feel bound to buy yet more weapons to match the new arsenals on their borders. In Latin America, the re-emergence of a number of long standing border disputes in the Late 60s and 70s promoted many of the regions’ countries to purchase more weapons from abroad. However these arms purchases served simply to raise tensions even further and led to yet more arms purchases. Similarly, in the Middle East, Syria and Israel remain locked in an arms race which continues to fuel more and more armaments on both sides. Therefore the world is not safe as long as the profit system existed including death profit.

By Michael Ghebre

Reference: Death on Delivery
The impacts of the arms trade on the Third World

Nigeria's child labour

In the past, children worked with their families, learning skills they would need as adults. But today, children are forced to work for their own and their family’s survival. Child labour is so widespread in Nigeria that it has been accepted by many as part of normal life. The end of the oil boom in the 70s, coupled with mounting poverty, has driven millions of children into labour.

Recent studies and reports, especially from the International Labour Organization show that child labour has been made worse in recent times because some of these children have no solid background, no education and no parental care. In the circumstances, they become street hawkers. They work in the streets during the day, and work even at night in some cases. Such lifestyles become very dangerous and nomadic types of life. There is little wonder therefore, that the future of these children is very dark and bleak. There are many children in Nigeria who work under inhumane conditions hidden from public view. The conditions of some of these children are compounded by the fact that they do not receive any kind of formal education. Because of the ramifications and consequences of child labour, it is no wonder that it is actually illegal in Nigeria, although the sheer scale of the activity gives the impression that it is legal.

In Nigeria quality education is no longer free. The ‘free education’ available in many local and state governments across the country does not provide the desirable tools for future freedom from ignorance or even preparation for work after education. Child rights activists also submit that lack of access to education is a major reason for the child labour quagmire. Statistics shows that these working children lose out on education because they have no time, money or energy to go to school. It also shows that about six million children, comprising of boys and girls, do not attend school at all, while one million children are forced to drop out of school due to poverty or because their parents demand for them to contribute to the family’s income. Over eight million children manage to stay in school and work at their spare time to pay school fees. But due to high demand at work, these children normally skip classes.Rabiu Musa, UNICEF Communications Officer stated 10 million children were not in school in the country. Missing out on education makes it impossible to break the cycle of poverty and exploitation.