- Posted October 10, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Impact Your World
Devastating Slave like Working Conditions in Zimbabwe
The children in Zimbabwe are experiencing extreme child labor. Children have to work so that they can earn some money for their families. On of the father of a child told told us, “The main reason we send our child to work, is so that we can have a sustainable living”. (Abu Afrikoma) The main reason for child labor is low wages being earned by their parents.
After researching-- I found that according to a 2010 UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund) report, it was found that 33 percent of children in Zimbabwe are engaged in some kind of child labor. In the capital, Harare, the percentage alone is approximately 20 percent are engaged in child labor. Child labor is work that might be mentally, physically, socially, or morally harmful to children. It is also a work that interferes with the schooling of children. The main reason that was figured out was poverty- existing in their family- and lack of services.
Zimbabwe’s Labor Act prohibits employers from hiring a person under 18 to perform hazardous work. The Children’s Act makes it an offence to exploit children through employment. But the United States Department of Labor report in 2011 found that these laws were poorly enforced by the inspectors of the factories.
The conditions in the factories are also bad. Children as young as six years old work hard hours for little or no pay. Children sometimes worked up to 19 hours a day, with a one-hour total break. Large, heavy, and dangerous equipment were very common for children. Sometimes small children were thrown inside machines, so that they could fix them. As soon as they fixed it, the machine started working. And the consequence- most children die. The children who did get paid, were paid very little.
Paurina Mupariwa, the labor and social welfare minister of Zimbabwe, told that the government had programmes such as the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM), which aims to keep children in school by assisting poor families with school and examination fees. Also she told that the main reason why children forced to go and work as laborers is the inability of their parents to pay the school fees. “The government has shown very little or no commitment to fighting child labor. She says that the government has let us down.” (Paurina Mupariwa) This is greatly affecting the literacy percentage compared to other countries.
There is definitely a need to fix the economy first and then stop unemployment, if the issue of child labor is to be addressed meaningfully. Also there is no money to support the programmes that some private companies have started. The communities now have started understanding what child labor is and they know that it is undesirable. This especially keeps children out of school.
But for as long as households have poor and unreliable sources of income, and there are many child-headed families and dependency on cheap labor, it will definitely be difficult to eliminate the problem of child labor.