At least 219 children whose ages range from 5 to 17 have been withdrawn from tobacco and coffee plantations in the area of Senior Chief Vuso Jere in Ntchisi District.
Disclosing this in an interview, Ntchisi District Labour Officer, Brian Maenje said of the total, 179 have been enrolled back to school with a provision of school materials from Teachers Union of Malawi.
“Cases of child labour emanate from poverty and illiteracy among parents. So as a way to sustain their families, parents encourage their under-age children to work in plantations. This leads to high school dropout cases,” Maenje said.
In a separate interview, Treasurer General of Malawi Congress of Trade Union, which is part of Accel, Falison Lemani observed that signing up poor families under government’s social protection programmes will help curb the problem.
Earlier on, Senior Chief Vuso Jere acknowledged the existence of child labour in his area, stating that efforts were being made to deal with the vice.
“We penalize parents found perpetrating the malpractice by making them pay fines and livestock,” Vuso Jere said.
The rescued children were identified during a field inspection exercise which was conducted under Accelerating Labour (Accel), a project funded by International Labour Organization.
Reported by James Mwale