Grimm's fairy tale tells of a struggling shoemaker couple who attains wealth and fame thanks to the help of mysterious elves in the middle of the night. And in many ways, today's fashion industry is like the modern fairy tale, boasting of the latest models of enviable fancy shoes. But not so many people seem to question where their shoes come from or who made them, it seems to make no difference whether those fairy tale shoes were indeed made by elves. Except that this kind of elf does not disappear with the moonbeams at dawn. This elf is a child labourer, who sacrifices his education, health, and future with every hard-working day he spends in the shoemaker's workshop.
Meet Demung, a 14-year-old shoemaker who has been in the trade since the tender age of 11. Demung dropped out of 4th grade elementary school 5 years ago (2007). His father, grandfather, and uncle are shoemakers too. It's a hazardous job with long hours, usage of sharp tools, exposure to harmful chemicals, and substandard health-and-safety procedures in place for protecting the workers. Demung and his father earn a joint paycheck of Rp150,000 (about USD $15) per week. The extended family of 9 live in the grandparents' 2-bedroom unfurnished house with no running water. Demung's dream is to someday build a house for his mother and to keep his 11-year-old sister in school so that the next generation in his family would have no more school dropouts.
This project was commissioned and funded by the Jakarta chapter of Aliansi Jurnalis Indonesia and the International Labour Organisation - Indonesia. Originally broadcast on Berita Satu TV (First Media) on October 12-14, 2012.
This version is currently in Indonesian only. Am planning to add English subtitles later.
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