Written by Enock Balakasi
Kasungu District Labour Office says it has withdrawn about 10470 children who were working in different tobacco fields in district in 2018.
Speaking to smash on Wednesday, Kasungu District Labour Officer Olive Panyanja stressed that poverty is fueling the development as some children are employed in farms to earn a living due lack of support.
She said it was not easy to ‘redeem’ the children as most of them were sent by their parents to work in the tobacco fields.
According to Panyanja, high levels of unemployment, poverty, HIV Aids pandemic and broken marriages are some of contributing factors of high prevalence rate of child labour in Kasungu.
Said Panyanja, “Many parents here do not really understand the importance of school, so it was not easy to save the children.”
To withdrawal the 10470 children, the district labour office has not been working alone but with different organisations.
“It is important that we join hands with other stakeholders in the district working on the same to see how we can pool resources together so that we can do more inspections since the district is big,” the Labour Officer explained.
Since many people are tobacco farmers in the district, during the growing season, pupils drop out of school to be employed in estates, it has been observed.
Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Grace Obama Chiumia who inspected some tobacco estates in the district acknowledged that cases of child labor remain a widespread challenge in the country as many children are being employed at a tender age to work in different sectors.
“If we care about our country, we must care about our children, if we care about our future we must value the dignity of our children,” said Chiumia.
The minister said child labour is evil and is a crime against the future of any country.
“Child labour is evil; it takes away children’s dignity and their rights as human beings. Child labour is a crime against future generations,” said Chiumia.
Besides, the minister has called for concerted efforts among Malawians to ensure children are not abused in the country.
Among 10470 children withdrawn from child labour, 400 children have been repatriated and re-integranted with their families in the districts of origin while 63 employers have been prosecuted.
The 2015 Malawi National Child Labour survey revealed that 38 percent of Malawian children aged between five and 17 years are into child labour.
Child labour is referred to the engagement of children in prohibited work and, more generally, in types of work that are socially and morally undesirable.
According to the results of the survey released by the National Statistical Office (NSO), child labour is more prevalent in the Southern Region at 43.5 percent and 33 percent for the Central Region and Northern Region.