By Elias Hakizimana.
More than 8,300 children have been rescued from child labour since 2016 and brought back to school while 98.9% of reported child defilement cases were handled by courts between June 2017 and July 2018, officials have disclosed.
The figures were presented during the launch of the five-year advocacy campaign to be conducted by World Vision Rwanda jointly with the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MIGEPROF) and the National Commission of Children (NCC) to eliminate the two worst forms of violence against children in Rwanda namely child labor and sexual abuse.
This advocacy campaign is dubbed “It Takes every Rwandan to End Child Exploitation’ Campaign.”
Speaking during the event, Esperance Nyirasafari, the Minister of Gender of Family Promotion said that the achievement was made thanks to through different initiatives to promote child rights and protection.
The $2 million investment by World Vision in this campaign will help to approach parents and local leaders so that they embrace reporting those who commit violence including defilement and child labour against children in 16 districts according to officials.
“There are children who are not at school because of being exploited in child labour. We will jointly work together and return them to school or to Technical Vocation Education and Training (TVET) schools because child labour is violence of child’s rights while they also face sexual violence in those forced works,” she said.
She noted that such children will be supported to become aware of the issue and how they could behave and access to interventions when they experience child’s rights violence.
“We have realized that some drop out school children cannot go to school. We will seek how we can help them to start income generating projects to help them survive,” she said.
She, however, clarified that children can do easy works because worst forms of labor can affect their growth.
Despite all the efforts and achievements, a number of Rwandan children sadly still face violence.
According to labor-force survey-pilot, NISR, 2016), the percentage of working children of 14 to 17 years old was 30.7%, almost half of them working with pay in an employment activity.
It shows that 29% of the total number of children in Rwanda aged between 5 and 14 years old had been victims of child labor according to UNICEF’s World’s Children 2016 Report dubbed ‘A fair chance for every child’.
Besides child labor, sexual abuse has been among the violence crimes against children which the campaign targets to eliminate.
Findings in the Ministry of Health’s 2017 Violence against Children and Youth Survey established that 48 percent of females aged 18-24 faced experienced unwanted sex in childhood and 51 percent of those aged 19-24 reported pregnancy as a result.
In the latter report, 83% of females aged 18-24 who had experienced sexual violence before the age of 18 had abandoned school as a consequence.
George Moses in charge of advocacy in World Vision said that the campaign aims at coping with the issue of child labor and sexual violence.
“Having seen that among children, 48 per cent under 18 years old were defiled while of them 50 per cent faced unwanted pregnancies, it is a serious issue because it is a child who gives birth to another,” he said adding that culture of keeping silence on the cases should be eliminated.
He explained that the activities will not be limited to only the advocacy campaign for violated children but also will benefit from particular supports.
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