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The Silence of Childhood

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  • Economics


"In the period between June and October of 1998 a socio-economic mapping was made on the families, children and adolescents of the Lixão do Roger (Roger´s waste tip), in the city of João Pessoa, capital of Paraíba State. During April 2000, our research sub-group began 48 interviews, in a semistructured form, with the children and teenagers who work and live on the rubbish tip and in the social housing of the housing estate "Condomínio Esperança". Being included in this project, my specific objective was to investigate the denial of childhood in Lixão do Roger. There, children and teenagers are drawn into the informal labour market at a very early age. The work basically consists of sorting the rubbish - bottles, beer and soft drink cans, cardboard, plastic and other kinds of material that can be sold for recycling. They have a childhood completely different from that experienced by boys and girls of the middle and upper classes. The children and adolescents who live and work there have no experience of a normal childhood with games, entertainment, sport and school. Their social horizons are limited to the work in the waste tip since little time is left for play, school and, in short, for childhood."

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