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Child Labour Unchecked in Buikwe District

Yudayah Namayanja, the Head Teacher of Kalagala Muslim Primary School says between 500 to 600 out of 731 registered pupils attend school on a daily basis. She explains that high levels of absenteeism are common among primary six and seven candidates.
Children found digging at Kalagala, Wakisi Njeru Muninipality during school hours.

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Child labor is thriving in Buikwe district due to lack of inspections. Several children labor on sugarcane, tea plantations and factories in the district. 

14-year-old Simon Nkuusi, a resident of Kalagala in Wakisi Njeru municipality is one such child working on a sugarcane plantation following the failure of his parents to pay his tuition and provide other basic school requirements. 

 

He works on a sugar plantation from Monday and Friday and uses the weekend to collect firewood in Mabira forest for home use. Buikwe District Community Development Officer-CDO Samuel Kiganda notes that a big number of children drop out of school to work in factories, tea and sugar plantations as others collect firewood in forests for sale. 

Records from the Community Development Office indicate that about 280, 000 out of the 465,000 people living in Buikwe district are children below nineteen years of age. However, only 160, 000 children are assumed to be attending school.  

Recently, Wakisi division authorities carried out an inspection to establish the causes of absenteeism in schools. The inspection revealed that a big number of pupils from primary five to seven skip classes to earn a living through charcoal burning, cut sugar cane, scare birds from rice gardens, collect firewood and look for metal scrap.   

 

Yudayah Namayanja, the Head Teacher of Kalagala Muslim Primary School says between 500 to 600 out of 731 registered pupils attend school on a daily basis. She explains that high levels of absenteeism are common among primary six and seven candidates.  

//Cue in: “Abaana abasing bakozesebwa…

Cue out: …olusi engendo mpanvu”//

The Wakisi Division Education Secretary, Sulaiman Kaweesi notes that factories have turned to employing minors since they offer cheap labor.     

Kaweesi explains that factories don’t issue identity cards to the minors or register them in their attendance books for fear of being caught by the law.

//Cue in: “Waliwo embeera yokozesa…

Cue out: …ku nyanja okuvuba”//

Abudu Mayanja, a resident of Najjembe blames the local officials for spending most of their time in offices as opposed to carrying field supervision visits to address the problem. He says due to the high levels of poverty parents allow their children to work so as to support their families.  

//Cue in: “Tulina bano abazadde…

Cue out: …abaana okusigala mubyalo”//

Muzamiru Mubajje, another residents believes that employers chose child laborers so as to as to save on their wage bill since they spend less on them.

The Buikwe District Community Development Officer-CDO, Samuel Kiganda says they are unable to reach various areas of the district due to limited resources.  He also says they need a full-fledged team to perform their duties effectively.

He says the entire district is looking up to them to fight the practice but they are challenged because many local leaders are silent even when they identify such cases in the community. He notes that the habit is common in Njeru and Lugazi municipalities.          

The Njeru Municipal Mayor, Yasin Kyazze says his office is not aware of the problem. 

“These are registered companies we think are mindful to the contracts they sign with the government but there is no complaint that can emerge from nowhere and as the municipality we are also going to follow up on the matter,” Kyazze said.

Jane Francis Kagayi, the Buikwe Resident District Commissioner, acknowledges receiving complaints about child labor in the area, saying his office is closely monitoring the perpetrators to bring them to book.                          

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