By Jeff Andrew Lule
ENTEBBE – A total of 700 children have been rescued from child exploitation activities and taken back to school at Kigungu landing site, in Entebbe municipality, Wakiso district.
This follows a three-year campaign dubbed ‘Stop child labour campaign, school is the best place to work for children‘.
It was spearheaded by Kids in Need and supported by Hivos ‘Stop Child Labour’ (SCL), a Netherlands-based organisation, Entebbe Municipal Council, Uganda National Teacher’s Union (UNATU), and African Network for Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN).
The programmes coordinator of the SCL campaign, Ignatius Nuwoha, said through their drive, 1,350 were rescued from child labour in Kigungu and Kitubulu villages.
A total of 700 children were enrolled in Kigungu, Entebbe UMEA and Nakiwogo primary schools, among others.
‘Face the law’
Nuwoha said this during the declaration ceremony of Kigungu landing site as a Child Labour Free Zone (CLFZ) at Kigungu primary school at the weekend.
He said majority of the children were engaged in fishing activities.
“We realised the cause was poverty and organized woman into several Village Savings and Loans Associations. This has helped many to start own businesses and also get loans without hiring out their children,” Nuwoha explained.
While officiating at the event, Entebbe municipality mayor, Vincent De Paul Kayanja said child labour was high in the area.
“Because of this campaign, the community no longer looks at children as assets to earn a living.”
Kayanja said they want to eradicate child labour in the area. “All children should be at school not working. Those found employing children will be arrested to face the law,” he added.
Sofie Quaa, the international cooridinator of SCL HIVOS, said they want children’s rights to be universal.
“All children deserve a right to quality education and good health, among others. That’s why we focus on withdrawing them from labour and back to schools,” she noted.
Kigungu primary school head teacher, Mustafa Ssentongo said before the campaign, the school had 200 pupils in 2012 but the number has grown to 455.
Beatrice Kabanyoro, 48, a parent in Kigungu, said the project has helped many children get back to school. “Some are still hiring out their children but majority have taken them back to school. It has helped a lot.”
Hajara Nabirye, a 40-year-old shop attendant at Kigungu trading centre, pointed out that the program has changed many people’s mindset on children and has helped many children return to school.
According the National Labour Force and Child Activities Survey 2011/12, two million out of the 18 million children in Uganda are engaged in child labour.
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