How can we lessen the burden of these children?

How can we lessen the burden of these children?

A child pouring dawadawa fruit

 Over hundreds of children be­tween seven and 12 years living in Kumdi and its environs in the Kpandai District of the Northern Region are often seen carrying heavy firewood from the bush as a way of supporting their parents to take care of them.

Though seen as a normal obliga­tion by children, some of the parents should be considerate in pushing their children to carry heavy load.

Cynthia, an eight-year-old girl who was photographed among her col­leagues confirmed how heavy the load they carry but they have no option.

In an interview with Mr. Solomon Masam, a father of six and a resident of Kumdi he said: “The practice has always been there from time imme­morial, so they do not see it as against the right of their children, but rather moulding them to be responsible peo­ple when they grow”.

He said that, the children were as­sisting their parents to cater for them which was not a harmful practice.

He said “In our part of the country, the more you have children the more you become respected and powerful because of the value and support they give us”.

Mr. Enock Bolni a youth advocate and at volunteer in Bimbilla also in the Northern Region said, the practice was very common and had been in existence for decades which would be very difficult to stop.

He said, “Though it is a bad prac­tice, poverty is the underlying factor of the practice, which has led to forced marriages and other unbear­able circumstances these children go through.

“The practice has forced many of the children especially girls to travel to seek greener pastures in Southern Ghana, because there, they believe they will make money from their la­bour as compare with what they do in their communities.

“And until an effective national policy and regulation be implemented to address this situation, it will be difficult to stop the practice”.

Madam Esther Boateng, the North­ern Zone Manager of Actionaid Ghana a non-governmental organisation working in the area also said, address­ing this problem of using children in farm instead of school needed more collaboration to build the capacities of state institutions to implement measures to identify and protect vulnerable children and victims of the practice.

She said, to implement measures to tackle human trafficking and forced labour, including the worst forms of child labour, it wa`s very important to partner with other institutions to achieve the purpose.

 From: Geoffrey Buta, Kumdi

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