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Students of Mucheke High School in Masvingo, Zimbabwe, working with their teacher Mr. Lockias Chitanana, have contributed the forceful writings below.

| Royne and Noreen | Bernard Pungu and Emmanuel Nzombe | Rumbidzai Njerenje and Lee Vee | Ivy Chitengedza |
| Egrinah Gopoza | Mercy Vushe | Noreen Midzi |

CHILD LABOUR

Here in Zimbabwe child labour is more like ABUSING the children. Mostly children under the age o f 14 are the most affected.

They are forced to work for long hours a day in poorly ventilated houses, and are given low wages for them to survive. Children who are not able to pay their school fees are sent to Earn and Learn schools. These schools offer free education but first they have to work in fields and in mines. They will not have enough time to read and rest; therefore they will suffer from sleeping sickness.

In mines children are not given protective clothing and are forced to work in dark rooms. Girls are forced to have sex with old man so that they can be given money or employment. Because of poverty and the downfall of the economy here in Zimbabwe children are forced to take part in activities by elders such as robbery and prostitution leading to HIV/AIDS.

from
Royne and Noreen

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CHILD LABOUR

If there be anything bad;
If there be anything hated;
It is child labour.
If there be anything discouraged;
If there be anything disapproved;
It is child labour.
If there be anything caused by poverty;
If there be anything caused by circumstances;
It is child labour.
If there be anything hated by children;
If there be anything orphans can't avoid;
It is child labour.
Child labour;
The robber of our youth;
The robber of our rights;
You've done much harm already;
Please leave us alone.

Written by
Bernard Pungu and Emmanuel Nzombe

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ABOUT CHILD LABOUR

O
Oh; what a blessing, On earth we have been given,
wonderful and marvellous children.
Stop child labour
Let's give them respect,
love, concern ,care
as well as peace on their day to day lives.
Let's stop child labour.
No body knows,
they may be teachers,
doctors ,nurses and parents of tomorrow.
Lets have sympathy on them.
Stop child labour.
Their future is in our hands.
Let us not abuse them
and give them time,
since they are children.
Stop child labour

by Rumbidzai Njerenje and Lee Vee

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This is a contribution by Ivy Chitengedza

I have found out from newspapers and magazines that right here in Zimbabwe a census was carried out in 1992.The census registered 38 560 children between the ages of 10 and 14 years were working .Since then the number is very likely to have increased due to harsh economic situation and the AIDS epidemic.

Many children in Zimbabwe are working on farms , particularly the tobacco and cotton farms. They earn a living this way. Some of these children work after school. They will be vending guarding cars on parking areas and receiving a small amount of money. Most girls will be working as housemaids and child minders.

I am drawing your attention to the fact that most of our Zimbabwean parents think that in making the child do heavy chores is a way of training him /her whilst they will be actually be abusing him /her. The time that child spends on doing these chores should be spend on socialising with other children.

In Zimbabwe children are forced to seek employment because of poverty. As the cost of living is going up everyday and many children are dropping out of school to join the labour force in the formal and informal sectors.

Some children are orphans , most of these orphans are AIDS orphans. A report on the GLOBAL HIV /AIDS Epidemics , June 1998 by UN AIDS and WHO , included that we have a total of 450 000 due to AIDS. These orphans have no choice but to work so that they can earn a living. Street children are increasing daily. These are usually abused and traumatised children ,either physically, sexually or emotionally , who will then run away from home to live in the streets . They are forced to work at ages in a number of ways such as guarding , washing cars etc..

Ivy Chitengedza

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A GIRL CHILD

What position does she hold in the society?
what kind of future awaits her ?
In public's eyes she is the source
The source of all the problems that affect the
society today.
Mischievous, Experimental, Rebellious
that's how she is portrayed
Does she deserve such blames?
Father forgets his parental duties
Rapes his own daughter
What a shame
Mother is an alcoholic
Hits her for nothing
screaming crying yelling
No day passes without these things.
As soon as she gets a chance
Runs astray like an unleashed puppy
To fend for the little ones
She is both a mother and child.
Mother and father separated
she is the one who take great care of her brothers and sister,
gets pregnant contracts AIDS
Obviously mom and dad are to blame.
free her
equip her and then
she won't cry for liberty.

contributed by
Egrinah Gopoza

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QUESTIONS

Question 1

In what ways is Child Labour Manifested ?
Child labour is Manifested in so many ways:
1) Children here in Masvingo are being ill-treated by their parents, especially their step- parents.
i) They are forced to work in the garden or field before they go to school therefore they will be late for lessons and being punished
ii) Some not allowed to go to school , they will selling boiled eggs, frozen freezits , hot buns to name but a few.

2) During the day they will be busy working, so when it comes to night they will be ready to study and writing their homeworks they wouldn't be allowed they will forced to switch the lights off.

3) Their step-parents will never buy then any new clothes or even a small present on their birthdays like others did.

Question 2

In What Ways Did The Government and the People in the Community do to solve these Crisis ?

1) The Government could open children's homes to keep those children who does not have caring parents or even relatives.

2) We must talk to those children and ask them their problems and help them in any way.

from Mercy Vushe

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from Noreen Midzi

1. IN WHAT WAYS IS CHILD LABOUR MANIFESTED IN ZIMBABWE?

In Zimbabwe child labour is seen by the following activities:
... Long working hours.
Young children of around TWELVE TO EIGHTEEN YEARS are forced to work for very long hours. They worked on industries sixteen hours a day and at the end of the month they earn very little money. They won't swoop themselves with that money. But the work they did is extremely tough and they are under age.

... Harsh working conditions
Some children are used to work on rough condition such as mines without protective clothes such as helmet. And the mine in its on has not been protected. So they collapsed too frequently which cause high mortality to children of the early age. They worked on these places because are forced by their parents who were poor. And at times they eloped so they wouldn't argue with their parents.

Brutality
Children severely beaten at work and at home. They Are treated in such way because they are being imperfected for bad deeds such as prostitution and pilfering. They mostly if they failed to come up with total amount pointed to them. That's why they refrain from homes and settled to streets where it seemed better than homes to them because being ill-treated by other human like them. Yet people regard them as stupid and unself-reliant without tracing the cause.

2. WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT AND THE PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY DOING TO SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS?

The government is not appropriate with this issue , at time it establish laws every child must be at school. And pays school fees to the children left alone and those with parents who are capable to work.

The community has done nothing except suing them in more problems.

from Noreen Midzi

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