International non-governmental organisation, Global Partners for Community Development (GPCD) in collaboration with national, and Kroobay Community Stakeholders, on Saturday (29th December 2018) launched a campaign to eradicate child labour.
The sensitisation campaign titled: “Violence against Children in the Form of Child Labour,” was launched at the Kroo Bay Community Playing Field. It attracted members – children and parents – from each household at the community.
Director of Global Partners for Community Development, Foday Koroma, said eradicating child labour is imperative, but the long-term dream of GPCD is to help resolve the mass suffering and unemployment in the country.
Deputy Chairman of Global Partners, Julius Kandeh Kanu, quoting a survey, stated that in all the slum communities in the country, Kroo Bay accounts for the highest percentage of children involved in child labour. Thus, the starting point.
He said Global Partners wants to stop that trend and create a platform wherein parents would prioritise the development of their children.
“We want children to have that belief that if I am educated, in the future I will be like president Julius Maada Bio or Fatima Bio.
“If these children are well developed to their full potential, the community would grow and the parents are assured of a safe retirement,” he said.
Councillor of the community, Murray Alie Conteh, applauded the initiative and termed it a ‘blessing’ for the community. He pledged his full support and commit to respond whenever he is needed.
Kroo Bay community Youth chairman, Charles Carew, shared similar sentiments, noting that the community has produced remarkable people in society, including the chairman of the program, Polo Sillah Bangura, the councilor and the best WASSCE student in 2008.
“If all these people were subjected to child labour instead of formal education, we would not be so proud today,” he said.
He appealed to community people to desist from subjecting their children or ward to child labour instead of proper education, adding “with education you get legal and soft money. If not you can only survive the hard way.”
Keynote speaker from the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children Affairs, Alusine Sesay, stated that child labour is subjecting a child below the age of 18 to carry the burden of the home as if they are the parents.
Quoting the Child Rights Act of 2007, he noted that the law makes exceptions for children above the age of 14 to help in their parents’ businesses, but it must be within the sight of the parent and not street hawking.
“Child labour is a serious crime and offenders could face a fine of up to five million Leones or imprisonment of ten years or both,” he said
The chiefs, police partnership board representative and community people pledged their support to the campaign and promised to monitor and report any child abuse in the community.
Global Partners for Community Development is a non-profit local non-governmental, a non-political organisation established in 2015 with a vision to alleviate poverty.