Children between six to fifteen years are pouring into major trading centers to get involved in vending merchandise in order to support their families. Children are mostly seen in the towns of Kalagi, Kisoga, Nakifuma, Katosi, Seeta and Mukono town.
Families depend on income collected by their children from vending boiled Maize, Eggs, Face Masks and vegetables. It’s alleged that these children are being sent on the streets by their parents who are currently affected by the lockdown.
For now, many residents in most communities of Mukono district welcome the additional help from their children lending a hand in the vending of merchandise on the streets.
David Kiwalabye he vends electrical items, explained to us that currently his parents are not working, they are seated at home and he decided to look for something to do to support the rest of the family.
“We are four children and staying in a rented house, so I have to move out and work. When I get paid I buy some food items to sustain the family” Kiwalabye said.
Parents revealed that staying at home with their children out of school makes daily life more expensive, as they have to give them lunch, stretching her budget.
“I’m so worried about how life is treating us now that getting food is a challenge. I decided to send them to sell food stuffs because It is very difficult to contain them indoors,” said one of the parent.
However, parents fear that their children might be exposed to anti-social behaviors such as drug abuse,” she added.
Vicky Angel Namusoke, a social worker in Mukono warned such practices may increase child labor and harm young people’s education if they continue longer term.
“The danger is that once the (COVID-19) crisis is behind us, the risk of some of the children not going back to school becomes higher,” she told this website.
Julius Ssemakula, a local councillor in Mukono revealed that Children who are victims to child labour are those from from the most Vulnerable families that are short food.
Julius noted that some parents are feel ashamed to move around vending food items, the only alternative is to send their kids to do the work on their behalf.
“In the first lockdown the government provided food relief to many orphanages in Mukono, but this time round it didn’t, now kids are escaping from these homes to earn a living by selling vegetables.” Kyamagwa noted.
The Resident District Commissioner Mukono Fatuma Ndisaba says they are going to enforce measures and talk to parents to stop sending their Children on the streets.
She also cautioned parents against exposing their children to bad groups like the drug addicts and COVID-19 which they might carry home and infect others. Ndisaba noted that elimination of child labour calls for collective efforts of all stakeholders.
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