18 June 2017

Africa: Child Labour Robbing Their Innocence


For many years, millions of children have been forced to work in tough and dangerous conditions despite efforts to ensure that they are not robbed of their childhood.

This is why the International Labour Organisation (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002.

Since then, June 12 has been bringing together private and publics institutions as well as millions of people from around the world to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to fix the situation.

It is estimated that some 168 million children remain trapped in child labour, many of them work full-time. They do not go to school and have little or no time to play. Many do not receive proper nutrition or care. They are denied the chance to be children.

Young citizen had an opportunity of speaking to some children who pleaded parents, government to try their best so as to stop child labour. These children believe to achieve that a lot of continuous efforts must be made.

Caroline John,12 is a Standard Six pupil from Boko primary school ,she says children needs to be in school and not work because anyone who employs a child is going against the law. According to her the education system in Tanzania offers free primary education. She thinks that parents should make sure their children are taken to school instead of sending them to be employed.

"We are very lucky because we can now go to school for free, I believe parents who were not able to take their children to school can now do so," says the 12-year-old.

She adds: I know there are parents who are poor and they think that if they send their children to work, then they will have an easier life without knowing that they are hurting their children.

Her adice to parents is that they need to encourage children to go to school because that is their children's ticket for a better life future.

Joshua Makoi 14, on his part says it is sad that there are several children who are suffering especially those who are living in countries with conflicts, most of them are missing out the opportunities to go to school.

"I wish countries which are in conflict could stop and find peace so that children shouldn't have to suffer anymore. I have seen on TV how children suffer when their schools and basic services are destroyed. Because of wars majority of them are separated from their families and they become refugees in other countries therefore ending up as child labourers" says Joshua.

According to him stern measures should be taken even in Tanzania to ensure that there are no children who are forced to work because of their living condition.

"Every morning when going to school I see several children doing petty business, others at the market carry heavy bags of goods, yet they are all supposed to be in school and not otherwise," he says.

This year's World Day Against Child Labour, 2017, focused on the impact of conflicts and disasters on child labour.

According to ILO director-general Guy Ryder, areas affected by conflict and disaster, homes and schools are often destroyed and many families lose their means to earn a living. He says family and social protection systems break down and increase the risk of child labour.

Globally over 1.5 billion people live in countries that are affected by conflict, violence and fragility. At the same time, around 200 million people are affected by disasters every year. A significant proportion of the 168 million children engaged in child labour live in areas affected by conflict and disaster.


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