Schools on vacation, child labour galore in Koforidua

Schools have vacated and many pupils have been compelled by circumstances to criss-cross streets dangerously and lorry stations selling items.

Some do it because they have to make some money to pay school fees when school reopens and others do it for pleasure because they are interested in business.

In Koforidua children below 15 years are on the streets and at lorry stations selling and they told the GNA that this would enable their parents and guardians to buy new uniforms, books and also to pay their fees.

A 13-year-old boiled corn seller, who is a class six pupil of the Methodist Primary School at Betom, said she was helping her mother to sell to help her get money to buy her new school uniform.

A “pure” water seller, who broke into tears when interviewed, said he was brought to Koforidua Zongo area by a woman his mother gave him to.

He said her mother sold gari in their village and that she could not cater for all her three children and he was therefore given out to the woman to look after him.

“I am in form one and because I am on vacation I have to sell so that I can get my school fees for next term,” he said.

A seven-year-old girl who did not even know the name of her school, was also seen selling biscuits at the station and according to her, she would be in class two when school re-opens.

She said her mother was in the house and had sent her to sell so she could make some money to pay school fees next term.

She commuted from Koforidua-Ada, a distance of about two kilometres, to the station to sell all alone and said “I will close at 1700 hours.”

A nine-year-old girl said she had come to the station to sell with her mother, a tea seller.

She sold “pure” water and said she was in class two at Roman Primary School at Effiduase.

“I am selling so that my mother can pay my school fees when we re-open,” she said.

GNA could not bypass a smallish 10-year-old class four pupil who also sold “pure” water at the station.

He said he was a pupil of Kweku Boateng Primary School and was selling to save money for his books and fees when school reopens.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Mrs Eunice Annor, the Eastern Regional Co-ordinator of the Domestic Violence and Victims Unit (DOVVSU), expressed sadness when GNA contacted her on phone concerning the issue.

She said it was illegal for a child to sell on the streets and that it was the responsibility of the parents to do the selling to care for their children.

Mrs Annor said it was not wrong if the children assisted their parents in selling and added that some children were business oriented and loved to go selling on their own will.

“But it does not mean parents should send their children to go hawking on the streets; they can just mount a table for their children to sit and sell under a tree. We expose them to danger when we allow children below age 14 to go about selling on the streets. Let us not jeopardize our children’s lives,” she said.

Source: GNA

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