By Golden Kang’oma Junior – Mana.
Center for Youth Empowerment and Civic Education (CYECE), a local non-governmental organization working in Salima district has condemned some parents for sending their school going children to sell commodities during school hours.
Speaking in an interview on Thursday, District Coordinator for CYECE, Joseph Magaleta said the development is affecting children’s right to education as well as exposing them to bad behavior such as sexual immorality.
“The Trading Centers in which these children are operating the businesses are harmful to their lives. Most of these young children are engaged in these enterprises up to wee hours which is very dangerous. This does not only expose them to sexual practices but also makes them prone to diseases and drug abuse,” Magaleta said.
He said the malpractice is leading to high school dropout rates, teenage pregnancies and child marriages.
“These young children are exposed to money while young. What happens thereafter is that they do not have interest to go to school because they see no reason of doing so. As a result, they keep wandering in search of money and contract diseases in the process,” said Magaleta.
Assistant Social Welfare Officer for Salima, Alexis Makatha said the problem is being influenced by inactive community child protection structures and some parents’ negligence.
“Our office has been working hand in hand with different stakeholders and government sectors, trying to eliminate such tendencies in the district.
“We managed to put in place community child protection structures so that we protect the rights of these young children. However there seems to be resistance by some parents and guardians to change despite all such efforts,” said Makatha.
He however, said that the council would soon start engaging different stakeholders to ensure that parents and guardians are conversant with child rights and protection laws.
Salima District Labour Officer, Mc Dolex Chavala said collaborative efforts are needed to end child labour in the district.