On Wednesday, authorities in Nyamasheke District called on area residents to combat child labour, observing that the practice was an impediment to education.
The warning followed a report which showed that under-age children in the district still worked in tea and rice farms, and mining and construction projects, as well as in homes, instead of sending them to school.
Chances are high that the situation in Nyamasheke may be representative of what is happening in most of the country, which should be cause for serious concern. One of the country’s greatest assets is its youth and the responsibility to protect their rights rests with all Rwandans, not just the government.
It would be unrealistic and counterproductive if the rest of the public laid back and waited for the government to address the issue singlehandedly. The country has enacted laws that punish offenders of children rights, but there is need for the citizen to watch over each to help stamp out violations.
It is important that our children are not denied the opportunity to build their own future, by enjoying the universal education programme.
Children are the country’s hope for tomorrow and should be brought up well and protected by the whole society, to become responsible and productive citizens. But without going to school, they will hardly deliver the future that this country is aspiring for.