By Elias Hakizimana.
Minor children in different areas of Gasabo District still experience hazardous works that also affect their education as most of these children work in mines while others carry huge luggages to the markets.
This issue made officials in the district and development partners including child rights activists like Coalition ‘Umwana ku Isonga‘ and faith-based organizations to stand up for interventions through training on how to overcome underage labour.
Jeannette Dalia Uwamahoro, the official in charge of Gender and Family promotion in Gasabo District said that most of these children are there and are exposed to huge luggage carrying to different local mini-markets.
“Many of these children are housemaids while others are used in transportation of huge baggage to different local mini-markets, others in construction works in bricks making; and in stone shaping,” she said.
Uwamahoro requested leaders of faith-based organizations to take the lead in raising advocacy in different churches on how to end underage labour.
Gasabo District committed to work on this issue during its fiscal year 2018-19.
“we want to partner with different institutions including civil society organizations to advocate for these children so that most of them can return to school,” Uwamariya noted.
She also said that such children are supported to find families to cater for them.
Maximilien Ruzigana, coordinator of Coalition Umwana Ku Isonga calls faith-based organizations to intervene in ending this issue that also undermine children’s growth.
“All we want is to end that problem, we need the support from faith-based organizations,” he said.
Noble families from Kigali city are said to be among people who employ underage children in housekeeping after taking them from the villages lying that they are going to educate them.
Etienne Mutabazi, pastor of ADPR Bibare in Gasabo District is among the trainees who decided to intervene in supporting the initiative.
He said he managed to know the age that corresponds to labour when a child is allowed to be employed.
“I gained three important things from the training, one is to know laws that protect a child, second concerns the principles to let the child exercise his/her rights potentials and third, the knowledge about child employment that corresponds to their age,” Mutabazi said.
Faith-based organizations decided to have a common space where they can easily meet and make reports on achievements of child right protection as they are going to start campaigns in this regard.
Underage labour can also affect national economy, as for instance the Rwanda tea was recently at risk to be given penalties on the international market because many children were working in coffee farms.
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