The International Rescue Committee and its partners on Friday observed World Day against child labour.
The Day started with a procession by IRC and children from Victoria Park to the YWCA new hall. They displayed banners some of which read: IRC cycle project says no to all forms of exploitative child labour, end child labour and give girls a chance-they face multiple disadvantages, countering youth and child labour education and join the world in calling for action against child labour.
Making her statement, the national cycle coordinator of IRC, Sia Mama Mbayo said the observation of the world day against child labour was done after the International convention in 2002 whose attention was focused to child labour and how to to tackle it. She said every year, June 12, people are reminded against child labour as she cited the percentage of children especially the girl child who are placed at risk as some undergo the worst forms of abuse.
Sia called for a strong policy action and also awareness raising about the negative impacts suffered by the girl child.
The theme for this years’ celebration is “give a chance to girls- they face disadvantage.”
Miatta Elizabeth Salia who chaired the ceremony spoke that IRC was joining the world in protecting and eliminating child labour citing Sierra Leone as an instance where the child, because of poverty, were exposed to all forms of abuse. She called for more realistic methodologies in protecting the child from sexual abuse, domestic violence and also building the capacity through education.
Komeh Kongoma from the child welfare committee stated that girls were subjected to all form of inhuman treatment during the war and they still bear the scars of that treatment. He said the present threat against the child in Sierra Leone was human trafficking, stone breaking and prostitution.
He said most of the children were found in vulnerable areas and appealed to the various local councils to develop bye-laws on the worst form of child cruelty.
Augustine Aruna from the Ministry of Education also stated that the value of the children should be acknowledged as he stated that his ministry advocates strongly for the education of the girl child.
The Child and Youth Development officer of IRC explained that the cycle project started in 2005 and since then, they have with drawn 14,600 children from child labour and have provided them with education. She said IRC continues addressing the needs of girls and increase international attention to child trafficking and end of child labour in Sierra Leone.