Send a Thief to Catch a Thief

(A story of two girls championing the fight against child labour from their experience)

Maureen and Vivian have a story to tell. They owe their lives to TACKLE for getting   back to school. This is a program within HWWK that campaigns against child labor and helps such children go back to school. The two girls were rescued from the worst forms of child labor within Nyanza province and have been used to reach many others suffering the same plight.

When the TACKLE program coordinator found these two girls, they were already in domestic child labor. The coordinator learnt that the two had dropped out of school after they got babies while still in primary school. When their parents insisted that they should get married, the girls opted to seek employment to fend for their children though they were children themselves being the age of below fifteen. The employment was no solace for the girls but for lack of a better way to earn a living, they accepted it.

A District officer helps in supplying uniforms to some of the children withdrawn from child labor.

Vivian disclosed that even when she became pregnant she was in search of help to buy herself sanitary towels. She said that the man who fathered her baby had promised to meet her needs if she accepted to have sex with him. ”When I was in my menses I opted to skip school because of the fear of staining my dress, yet my love for school was overwhelming,” she said during an interview. She added that she would do anything within her reach to ensure that she did not skip school. “But I ended up being a mother!” She pointed out. She expressed her gratitude to HWWK for supplying her and her friends with sanitary towels and underwear saying that she participates in every activity without the slightest fear now.

TACKLE, a program that has been fighting child labour in Nyanza province has been preventing child labour by taking children to school, promoting food programs in schools and involving children in appropriate technology trainings. These trainings which are agri-business are currently approved by the Ministry of Education Syllabus. They involve bee-keeping, fish ponds and green houses. Maureen and Vivian are just part of 78 girls who were supported by TACKLE and were offered a one year sanitary pads supply, tuition fee, counseling and school uniforms to enable them remain in school.

These two girls are now champions in anti child labour crusades and encouraging their peers to go back to school. They are now role models and mentors in the community as well as mentors of the other children who are being rehabilitated from child labour. This idea has been innovative as children are being used to withdraw other children from child labour by sharing their experience.