PROTECT CHILDREN, PROTECT OUR FUTURE
By Wangari Karuoya
The World Day against Child Labour was marked yesterday ,12th June, 2014, at St Patrick’s Primary School in Thika, Kiambu County. The chief guest was the Governor of Kiambu County, Hon. William Kabogo accompanied by his deputy, Hon. Gerald Wachira and the County Cabinet Secretary for Health. Two children representatives were also chief guests. The day was commemorated through various presentations by the children who had also made various drawings as part of their show case in the art gallery. The day’s theme was on social protection, ‘Extend Social Protection: Combat Child Labor’.
Speaking at the Kiambu County Government offices, Hon. Kabogo remarked that, “Child labor is a very immoral thing and we have declared Kiambu a Child Labor free place. It is one issue that limits people form attaining full potential and it is therefore important that we make sure that we do not have child labor here in Kiambu and in Kenya as a whole.”
Waringa Nga’nga, the Save the Children Nairobi Managed Programme Manager, spoke on behalf of the Save the Children Country Director, “We need to reflect on the successes that we’ve had in this issue of child labor and also on the challenges that are ahead of us but also learning from the past and see how we can do better.”
The commemoration of the day began at the Kiambu County government offices with the introduction of the invited guests and welcome remarks by the governor. It was then closely followed by a procession by the school children, partners, members of the Kiambu County assembly and other invited guests from the Kiambu County Government offices to the grounds where the celebrations were to take place.
All the presentations by the children were aimed at passing the message on the need for improved social protection in an effort to combat child labour.
Speaking on behalf of the governor, the deputy governor noted that, “A lot has been said about child labor but it is surprising that in this modern era we still have children who are made to work in deplorable and often dangerous conditions at a time in their lives where they should be in playgrounds and classrooms.”
The children presented their Memorandum of Understanding from the Kenya Children’s Assembly to the governor and in it, the children were quick to thank the government for their efforts in making children’s lives better saying, “We want to thank the government for providing all children in Kenya with free primary education, this has enabled many children to go back to school and avoid most of the problems they used to face like pear pressure into using drugs, running away to the streets and being involved in child labour to provide for themselves. The government has also continued providing children homes to the homeless children as seen in the recent past where our brothers and sisters in the streets have been provided for a home.”
“The government through the media has created awareness on the effect of child labor and encouraged parents and guardians to take their children to school which has seen great increase in children attending schools and by providing school feeding programs. We have had a reason to stay in schools since we know at least we can have one a meal that is healthy.” They added.