BY Ahmed Mukiibi
Over 3,000 children, formerly working as child labourers in Masindi and Kiryandongo districts have been withdrawn from tobacco farms and enrolled in 53 primary schools.
The children aged between 5-17 years, faced a grim future without formal education as their daily routine was toiling in tobacco plantations to eke a living.
The high prevalence of child labour in Masindi and Kiryandongo has been blamed for the poor performance of both districts in national examinations.
Under the project, Community Empowerment for Elimination of Child Labour in Tobacco-growing Areas, children of school-going age working in tobacco farms instead of attending school were identified at village level.
This project, which is coordinated by the Community Development and Conservation Agency (CODECA) and Platform for Labour Action (PLA), has since January 2011, been able to withdraw 3,000 children from the hazardous child labour and enrolled them in primary schools and vocational training colleges.
“Some of these children have been enrolled in vocational schools, while the majority have been posted to primary schools in Masindi and Kiryandongo districts,” the executive director, PLA, Lillian Mugerwa, says.
A total of 200 children are undergoing practical skills training at Kyema Vocational Training College, a Masindi-based institute built in a partnership between the Government of Uganda and the Foundation for the Elimination of Child Labour in tobacco growing areas.
The other children have been posted in primary schools in their home areas where they are being monitored by the Village Child Labour committees.
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Over 3,000 former child laborers enroll in school