Child Labour in Tanzania

By Devaa Ramalingam – Art in Tanzania intern

Life as a kid in Tanzania is tougher than people presume it to be. The poverty there causes children who are the future of Tanzania, into labourers. Need overcomes all their wants as they need basic necessities for their families to survive.

In Tanzania, around 4.2 million children between the ages of 5 – 17 are working as child labourers. Despite all the amenities given by the government to the people in Tanzania, families have to make their children go and work due to their financial difficulties.

Not only children but mothers are also working as labourers in tough jobs such as stone mining and etc, to earn a living. As there is a lack of rain and many families rely on agriculture as their source of income, their forced to go and work as labourers along with their children in stone mining.

In Tanzania, not only children are working as labourers, but also are forced to quit school because of the hardships they face.

The children working are in the age groups of 5–17 and some of them go to school in the morning and work during the night and some of them quit school and work full time, like from 7 a.m till 8 p.m late in the evening. If the situation is too bad they have to work till they could make buckets of stones worth 4000–5000 according to their necessity for that day.

These children don’t have the normal lifestyle that a child gets, which they too deserve. Even with all the work, most days they don’t even get 3 meals. After all the work till late in the evening and they wake up the next day only to realize they don’t have breakfast which gives them the energy they need to work.

Like every other kid, these kids also have the dream to become an officer or a doctor. But due to their school situation they can’t. They could not afford the uniforms and shoes for the school. Some of the children gave up on dreaming of going to school because they think they will not get any help.

On top of child labour being an unfair act which is still evident in many places like Tanzania, these children gets paid very little even though they work a lot. Even worse, somedays they don’t even get paid.

It is not relevant to them wether they are not well or can’t work due to any medical situation, they wake up everyday and go for work, because many of their parents also have medical problems which makes it impossible for them to work.

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