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In Vietnam, children cherry-pick chili after harvest to earn a living

Singling dried and fresh chili out from decayed one after harvest has become a livelihood in Thanh Binh District of the southern province of Dong Thap and many children have had to work at a very early age to help their families.

Singling dried and fresh chili out from decayed one after harvest has become a livelihood in Thanh Binh District of the southern province of Dong Thap and many children have had to work at a very early age to help their families.
Singling dried and fresh chili out from decayed one after harvest has become a livelihood in Thanh Binh District of the southern province of Dong Thap and many children have had to work at a very early age to help their families.

Chili pickers will receive VND4,000 (US$0.19) when they get a basket of fresh chili, equal to around 7kg, done and VND10,000 for a kilo of dried chili.

Le Thi Yen Nhi, 15, is one of the young laborers in the locality doing the job of her family since the age of four, when she quit school due to her parents’ split.

Living with her grandmother and two younger sisters, Nhi often works 14 hours per day, from 8:00 pm to 10:00 am.

Each night Nhi can earn around VND240,000 ($11.18) from classifying 60 baskets of chili, much better than other adult workers.

The money is used for paying her sisters’ school fee.

Huynh Thi Thanh Thao, a 6-year-old laborer, usually finishes singling out 5kg of dried chili per day.

Nguyen Thi Bich Van, who has five years of experience in cherry-picking chili, said she can earn roughly VND100,000 ($4.66) per day if she works hard.

Huynh Thi Thanh Thao, 6, is pictured working with her parents in the chili field.

Huynh Thi Thanh Thao and her uncle, Nguyen Van Cuong, have a lunch break before getting back to work.

Nguyen Van Cuong lays chili under the sun to dry it.

Le Thi Yen Nhi, 15, does her daily work which often lasts from 8:00 pm to 10:00 am every day.

A group of chili pickers are seen working hard at noon.

Workers have to cover their heads with fertilizer bags to shelter from the sizzling heat.

Some workers use umbrellas to bar sunlight.

Fresh chili after being classified.

Fresh chilies are put in front of fans to blow dust and water out of them.

Classifying chili after harvest has become a source of livelihood for many people in Thanh Binh District of the southern province of Dong Thap.