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Faces of Freedom - Visions of Hope for Child Laborers

Begins:   Dec 10, 2009 17:00
Ends:   Dec 10, 2009 19:00

Photos by U. Roberto Romano

Child labor and poverty are inevitably bound together and if you continue to use the labor of children as the treatment for the social disease of poverty, you will have both poverty and child labor to the end of time.

– Grace Abbott, American Social Reformer, 1878-1939

The World BanK Art Program in partnership with the RugMark Foundation USA, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, as well as the Office of the Executive Director (EDS16), the Human Development Network, the South Asia Social Protection Unit, the Nepal Country Department, the South Asia External Affairs Office, the Children and Youth Network, The Youth2Youth Community and Pangea of the World Bank Group are honored to help raise awareness about child labor in the hand-made rug industry by presenting Faces of Freedom, an exhibition created by RugMark and co-sponsored by U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

It is estimated that globally some 218 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 are child laborers. The World Bank, together with UNICEF and ILO, are working together through the Understanding Children’s Work Initiative to identify and combat the most deplorable forms of child labor, including exploitation of children in the hand-made rug industry. On the ground, the Bank relies on the tireless work of dedicated country based and non-governmental organizations to help combat child labor.

The Faces of Freedom exhibit features a selection of contemporary child-labor free rugs together with a collection of photos by award-winning photographer U. Roberto Romano. The images take you behind the looms and inside the lives of the carpet weavers of South Asia. Faces of Freedom features the efforts of RugMark, an organization overseeing the GoodWeave certification program aimed at ending child labor in the rug industry.

As you journey through the exhibit, you will learn about the ancient craft of carpet weaving and come face to face with grim images of weavers, too young to be at the looms, laboring in poor conditions where childhoods remain incomplete. You will also be uplifted by the bright faces of Sunita, Chameli, and Laxmi from Nepal and other children who were assisted by the GoodWeave program and went on to receive school education. Their smiles are a testament to the power of a simple choice to purchase child-labor-free products.

Opening Reception

Thursday December 10, 2009
The President's Gallery (12th Floor)
1818 H Street NW Washington, DC 20433
On view until January 31/2010

Learn more at

Children and Youth, Y2Y, Art Program, Good Weave, UNICEF, PANGEA, World Bank Group

Last updated: 2009-12-16

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