In continuation of last week’s vox pop on the abuse of Child’s Right. The Hope Classics went to town to speak with some of the children on the street who recount their predicaments. It went further to seek the opinions of parents and a legal paractitioner
“We eat from the sales of vegetables. My guardians are farmers. And when I return from school, I will hawk. if not, we are not going to eat at home.
“I am a primary two pupil. It is not that I like hawking, but I do not have option than to hawk. If I refuse to hawk this vegetables my aunty will beat me and I will not eat for that night.
“I am living with my aunty. My parents are not here. As I am talking to you now, my aunty and her husband are still in the farm. When I am through with selling this batch, I will go and take another one. That is how we manage to survive.
Omolola 9, and her brother 7, from the same parent.
“Our parents are farmers. We harvest the groundnuts from our farm. Then we hawk in the evening. That is where we get money to pay our school fees and feed.
“We hawk on a daily basis, as soon as we come back from school.
“We take care of ourselves from the money we gather from farming. We have no other work than farming. We harvest the groundnuts from our farm and sell. Hawking is difficult. Sometimes my neck will hook me. Even my junior brother use to complain of leg pain.
“Yusuf Vicent, a 10 year-old boy with his two brothers, 7 and 8 years old.
“Our father was once a staff of the local government. But he is late. We are five from our mother. My mother was pregnant before the death of our daddy and she gave birth to twins after his death. That was how we became five, my brothers and I hawk in the evening, when we come back from school.
“Our mother goes to the market to buy the vegetables and ponma, then we hawk it in the evening, that is how we have been managing ourselves.
My mother is not working any where else. She only goes to the village market to buy vegetables and other things for us to re-sell. Then we get our own profit from the sales
Mr Adekanbi Idowu, (A parent)
Abuses start from maltreating a child, punching, kicking, hitting with an object. Witnessing abuse is really distressing and scary for a child, and causes serious harm.
Children living in a home where abuse is happening are at a risk of other types of abuses. For example, a child who is used to hawking in the streets, is liable to sexual harrassment from different quarters, risk of motor accident, kidnapping, etc.
If we look into this situation, it is laziness and poverty that led most of the parents into the unpleasant use of their child. And they never realise that they are doing the wrong thing. They believe they own the children and they can use them to get what they want, which is very wrong.
Laziness widens poverty in someone’s life. The two words work together. As for me, I can never allow my children to hawk for theirs or our living. Instead, I will hawk for their living or do other things just to take care of them, since they came into this world through me. Their welfare should be my responsibility, and not theirs.
I’m always surprised whenever I see teenagers hawking around the street. I assume their parents are irresponsible. If you ask some of the children, they will tell you that their parents are at home.
There are some children, that one way or the other, have lost their parents or lost one out of their parents to death, now living with their uncles or aunties.
At this junction, I think government should do something especially on education. Education which is supposed to be free, is not free anymore. Education is part of a child’s right.
All parents wish their children should be educated. And when they have less power to finance, they use them to fetch for money.
If expenses on education is out of it, then the struggles will reduce.
It is obvious that poverty leads the society this day.But it should not be a reason for child abuse from parents.