| Child labor is widely spread in the poor regions of Kenya. A question not that many people dealing with the issue of child labor ask is why does it happen? I have found out in my own research some of the things that have led to the widespread of child labor.
Under age kids are just rowdy, and so eager to take an expedition that they drop out of school and find themselves in the wrong with their parents and as a result run away to find employment despite their tender age. And it is common knowledge that every businessman appreciates cheap labor, so to try and help this young man is to employ him despite his age, since he cannot command a high salary for himself.
Some of the children involved in underage job seeking come from very poor family backgrounds. You might find out that their parents were probably just peasant farmers or even worse than that, and so were not even able to cater to their basic needs. This may force the children to try and better their own lives plus their parents by dropping out of school and going to work at early ages. A question to ponder therefore is, who is to blame for these children's involvement in the labor market at tender ages? Can we blame their parents for not being able to provide for their children and probably charge and lock them away with charges of subjecting their children to child labor? Just before we even think of that, lets ask ourselves, what is every parents desire for their children young or old?
There have been a lot of cases in Kenya where parents die and the deceased children are relieved of all their parents’ properties including land and house. These children are then subjected to very harsh conditions most if they were not out of school by the time they lost their parents. This is another group of kids that if nobody comes to their rescue will be subjected to child labor since they have to do something to be able to live. If they don’t engage themselves in some kind of employment, then there is also the risk of involving in criminal activities. Either way their lives are not headed in the right direction.
There has also been the case of parents so torn apart by poverty, and living in the remote parts of the country, entrusting their children to their relatives living in towns. The parents just wish for their children to live better lives and probably even be able to assist them in their successes, but it becomes very unfortunate when the relatives turn their back on the children and start using them as house helps and babysitters. Sincerely parents cannot be wrong in wishing their children better lives than the ones they have led themselves and in the course of that their children get engulfed by the wolves in the labor market.
Mine is just but a simple argument on who is to be charged with the responsibity of reducing the widespread problem of child labor. The people involved in child labor have very little to contribute to it themselves, just like they have very little they can do to stop it. It is a desperate situation since the stakeholders hardly have a choice in the matter. Take this for example: you are parked at a service station and a child of around 10 comes to your window selling sweets or peanuts to you, what do you do? Do you buy the peanuts and let the kid keep the change, then drive away feeling contented that you have helped somebody? Or do you refuse to buy and ask the kid to go back to school and stop disturbing people on the streets? What you would do is your own contribution to the child labor issue.
Addressing the issue of child labor needs a lot of considerations and consultation in order to be addressed properly. It requires everybody’s participation because nearly everybody has contributed one way or another.
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Child Abuse and Neglect Agbili Martin Onyedikachukwu
| Jun 12th, 2012
In the past, children worked with their families, learning skills they would need as adults. But today, children are forced to work for their own and their family’s survival. The money earned by ‘children workers’ has become a significant part of the family income.
One of the most heartbreaking reminders that we are a poor country is the inundation of children on our streets selling different items to passers-by. Children under the age of eighteen, through circumstances beyond their control, are left to fend for themselves, and often for their parents as well, through the money they make working on the streets.
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