Are child careers justifiable?

I believe soThere is a big worldwide campaign against child labour, a term described as the employment of children at regular and sustained labour, also considered exploitative and illegal by many countries and international bodies.
Ivan Mugisha
Ivan Mugisha

I believe so

There is a big worldwide campaign against child labour, a term described as the employment of children at regular and sustained labour, also considered exploitative and illegal by many countries and international bodies.

Many organisations that protect the rights of children have cropped up in the past and have encouraged parents and guardians to ensure the safety of their children’s future by not subjecting them to hard labor. Indeed, concerns have often risen over the public’s morality concerning the purchase of products either assembled or manufactured by children.

Although parents are threatened with lengthy periods behind bars if found guilty of child labour, some of them are shrewd and have stuck to their philosophy and belief that; a child introduced to working conditions early enough, has a much better chance of survival than the one who dwells on only academics- and I believe that as well.

Hard labour in itself is no excuse because it slows down a child’s mental development and may deny them time to mingle and play with the rest of their age mates. However, a parent who encourages children to do nothing but to sit down and watch TV is just as guilty as the one who subjects them to hard labor!

It’s common practice in modern society for parents to offer kids leeway to hours of television viewing with only one condition; “take a nap and do your home work”. Take a pick and visit a few families and you will witness the shock I’m talking about.

They employ three or four maids who wash the children’s clothes (including underwear), prepare food for them on the table, clean the table after they’ve eaten, lay their beds, iron their clothes…literally, these kids do nothing at all!

I grew up in a steady family where all my siblings were very hardworking people. My elder brother used to wash our uniforms whereas my other siblings would clean the compound, prune the gardens and although I was the laziest, I regularly did the house chores and polished all the shoes I would find. Although I hated it sometimes, such labour did not in anyway negatively affect our upbringing, rather, we developed skills that helped us later in life.

In the industrial revolution of Europe, children played a very insignificant part by performing the small but important tasks such as sharpening pencils, sweeping offices, selling newspapers and so on. When they got some money, they took it back home to assist their families.

In the wake of boycotting products made through child labor, UNICEF found out that hundreds of thousands of children in developing countries were forced to divert to worse options such as prostitution, stone-crushing and street hustling. For this reason, I believe that child labour should be revised, particularly in Africa and Asia where families desperately need the income that these children raise.

Parents must encourage their children to start working at an early age, be it in the arts industry or agriculture.

Take a leaf from what the rich celebrities do; even before they turned ten, both Will Smith’s kids had featured in movies- now both his kids are producing music and performing at concerts.

Unless we sarcastically accept that child labour is only for the rich, we should hurry up and position Rwanda’s young generation for a bright and independent future.

Instead of spending weeks and weeks doing nothing but watching TV during the holidays, children must be helped to think about income generating activities- that’s my opinion!

 

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