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Child labour in Africa

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Child labor involves employing of children below the age of 18. When children are employed at this age, they miss the privilege of education. It is common in many African countries and at times the families involved are not aware of its bad side. Some even think they are helping to employ them. Some children in this category are orphans while others are given in by their own parents.

Some children are employed as house hold maids even as young as 10 years and below. It is sad to note that many are mistreated and paid very little or even not paid at all.

Major causes of child labour include;
Death of parents; Many children are orphaned at a young age and when this happens, culture dictates that relatives take care of the children. At times, the people who have taken charge of the children cannot afford maintaining them even if they wanted to. As a result, they look for simple jobs for them in town or even give them heavy jobs so as they are able to survive. E.g you may find them working as porters, digging to earn money and even working in sugarcane plantations or making mud bricks.

Lack of education also leads many young girls to go and look for jobs as house helps. In Uganda, even if there is Universal Primary Education which provides free education, many parents cannot afford providing lunch to the children or even pay the required minimum amount of money for the school which in most cases is less than 20000shs per term.Some schools simply ask for a kilo of maize.

Poverty; many African families are poor, they cannot handle many children at home when it comes to expenses they produce many. In the end, they send some of their children to look for jobs in order to fend for themselves and look for food. The worst part is that when they send some of them to work, they produce more because then they feel free.

It is common to find young boys doing heavy jobs like being porters at new construction sites, carrying heavy loads etc while girls are turned into house helps. Some end up getting married at a very tender age when they are not ready.

Because of the mistreatment they receive while working, the children end up abandoning the jobs and later engage themselves in bad practices like theft and drug abuse.

The unfortunate part is that it is not easy to stop child labour since most of the children who do it are in need and individuals/companies seem to be helping them. As a result, they do not report such issues.

The children have a right to education and a good life. It leaves the countries where it is practiced back ward and we need to join hands and fight it.

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