Invisible Children| 25mins
Director: Carol Mansour | Producer: Carol Mansour
Focus Years: 2005 | Country: Lebanon
"Invisible Children", a film on child labor in Lebanon, provides a sensitive look into the tragic and triumphant lives of working children through personal interviews with the youth themselves. The young people take you on an emotional journey though their work, family lives and communities. Abir, nine years old, wakes every morning in a Palestinian camp to go to work foraging through mounds of rubbish for plastic, bottles and cans to recycle.
Mohammad, 13, was a welder of heavy equipment but quit after he tragically lost his best friend in an accident in the shop. He now works long hours as a mechanicâ€™s assistant. Maryam, barely in her twenties and tired from working countless hours and nights, has earned a living selling her body for over a decade.
Either invisible to the public eye or stigmatized as poor and uneducated, little has been previously known about their circumstances. "Invisible Children" explores the issues giving voices to the children usually ignored â€“ not heard or seen. The film finds that although the youth are being exploited, they are also survivors. They not only speak of their sadness, but also of their dreams and successes. Street smart, some give candid and provocative responses to the realities and state permissiveness of child labor. They show that that are individuals who have been born into poverty and forced to work, never able to experience what many know as the freedom and innocence of childhood.
Like Abir, Mohammad and Marian, many are exposed to harmful chemicals, back-breaking labor and degrading activities. Their jobs are tiring and few will live long lives. Yet they are also bright individuals who learn to cope despite the insurmountable odds, and despite the shame that surrounds the work that they do, and their lack of formal education. This film chronicles their stories, their work, their failures and successes.