Kayonza District has been singled out as a heaven of sorts for business mal-practices that involve among other issues using under-aged children for often-times hard labor.
This was revealed by Reach Rwanda Organization, which is a non-profit advocacy body operating in the area. Reach Rwanda conducted research and found that this practice is mainly commonplace in Rwinkwavu, Ruramira, Nyamirama and Rukara sectors, after conducting a thorough investigative study.
The children are mainly used for mining and excavation projects, often with poor pay and even worse working conditions.
Reach has however, so far managed to 'free' 1,286 children, all of whom have been placed in foster homes and enrolled in schools to begin education, or for those who dropped out due to unavoidable circumstances, to resume their studies.
The majority of the children are aged between 16 and 17 years, and are forced into this 'hard labor' by a myriad of reasons, such as extreme poverty at their homes, being orphaned, or even parents at times ordering them to leave school to be 'gainfully' employed.
Reach Rwanda also holds sensitization campaigns aimed at parents and guardians to put a priorityon enrolling children in school instead of seeing them as a source of income to the family, no matter how tough of a financial predicament they maybe in.
Residents have also been urged to report any cases of children abuse or child labor that may be happening in their community, with a Police hotline having been set up.