NYAMASHEKE- Authorities in Nyamasheke District are calling on residents to avoid employing children in hard labour.
The warning follows a recent report which shows that underage children in the district were still employed on tea and rice plantations, mining and construction sites as well as in homes.
At a workshop organised to sensitise the population about children’s rights and the dangers of child labour, Silvestre Musengimana, an official from Capacity Development Advisors (CADEA), a local consultancy firm, reaffirmed the country’s commitment to stop child labour.
“This training is meant for anyone with access to a child’s life in the community. Change will only come if every resident starts seeing child labour as a hindrance to national development,” Musengimana, said.
The official singled out the school dropout rate, child criminality and poor academic performance, among the impacts of child labour.
Lack of family planning, poverty and ignorance were also highlighted as the major causes of child labour.
Trainees pledged to play an active role in stopping the vice.
“We shall fight for children’s rights, starting with access to education. It’s every child’s right to study, not to work before age,” said Colette Nyirahakuzimana, a trainee and advocate.
“It starts from our homes, to see if we haven’t employed minors as house helps, “said Albert Nzacahwinyeretse, a representative from World Relief, Nyamasheke.
Clementine Nyirabambanza, the official in charge of labour at Nyamasheke District, listed punitive measures for those found employing children.
Punishments include a prison sentence ranging from six months to 20 years or a fine of between Rwf 500,000 to Rfw5 million for anyone found guilty of employing a child below 18 years.