EWAD SAYS SOME SCHOOLS IN UGANDA CONTINUE TO VIOLATE CHILDREN’S RIGHTS WITH SOME LEARNERS LOSING THEIR LIVES
A local NGO-Environmental Women in Action for Development [EWAD] has expressed concern over continued cases of child labor in some schools across the country.
This organization is an implementing partner of the Work No Child’s Business project (WNCB) in Busia district alongside other organizations.
Margaret Tuhumwire, the WNCB coordinator also executive director-EWAD, says there is continued existence of child labor in some schools in Uganda.
“For example on March 14 2023 in Butaleja district, three children died at Golden Heart Junior School after a wall they were breaking on instructions of their teacher crushed on them. This is very unfortunate!” She noted.
She says in a world where education is universally regarded as the cornerstone of a prosperous future, it is disheartening to witness child labor within the very institutions responsible for nurturing young minds.
Tuhumwire says as schools across the country officially open for yet another academic term, EWAD urges them to take decisive action and totally eliminate child labor within their premises.
She says child labor is a grave violation of human rights that impedes children’s physical and mental development, denies them access to education, and perpetuates a cycle of poverty and inequality.
“Shockingly, it is happening within the very walls of educational institutions, undermining the principles they should uphold. We believe that schools should be sanctuaries of learning, fostering environments that nurture children’s talents and empower them for a brighter future” she said.
She noted that it is embarrassing to see the persistence of child labor in schools, where young children are subjected to exploitative conditions that deprive them of their rights and rob them of their childhood.
Tuhumwire cited some of these activities as hazardous labor, long hours of farm work while others are studying, maintenance work, or even providing services for the school community at a covert fee paid to teachers or school heads.
She said such practices not only compromise their physical safety but also undermine their well-being and educational opportunities.
She said as EWAD, they call on school administrators, educators, policymakers, and parents around the world to join them in this crucial endeavor to eliminate child labor within educational settings.
She outlined some of the action areas that need to be undertaken by schools to protect and promote the rights of every child including adoption of strict policies where schools must establish and enforce clear policies explicitly prohibiting child labor within their premises. Other action areas are, raising awareness and education, Strengthening collaboration, Monitoring and reporting mechanisms, Supporting vulnerable families, Creating friendly learning environment to foster learning, attract and retain children in school.
“By taking these crucial steps, schools can serve as beacons of change, demonstrating their commitment to upholding children’s rights and creating safe, nurturing, and inclusive educational environments” Tuhumwire said adding the organization and other implementing partners under the WNCB will continue taking bold steps towards the progressive and total elimination of child labor through empowering and supporting schools, communities, businesses and leaders.
“Together, we can build a world where every child is free to learn, grow, and dream” she said.
This call for action by EWAD comes as the world is gearing up to mark the International Day Against Child Labor which falls on every 12 June due next week.