For many children stuck in child labor, dreams may seem farfetched and unrealistic.
Grace, a young girl in Tanzania, used to wake up every morning to make and sell illicit alcohol with her grandmother – the only way that the family could make enough money to survive. And because they relied on money earned from Grace’s work, they failed to see the necessity in educating her further.
Why Child Labor Remains a Barrier to Education
A child having to exchange school for work is hardly unique. Many families in various parts of the world are poor or uneducated themselves and don’t always see the benefits of sending their children to school. Some struggle with having too many family members to feed, while others just don’t have the means to make ends meet. Not having a lot of options means the burden sometimes falls on the children. And this is exactly what happened in Grace’s situation.
In 1992, the International Labour Organization (ILO) made World Day Against Child Labour official. It would be a day to remember the 168 million other children like Grace who are made to face harsh conditions and struggles in life. The ILO defines child labor as “work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.” Making it an annual observance means we are constantly reminded that our efforts are still needed to stop child labor from happening.
Despite her challenges at home, Grace’s teachers saw from her performance in school that she had potential. They brought her case up to Asante Africa Foundation in the hopes that doing so would mean Grace could continue on with her education.
Once sponsored by AAF, Grace took part in the Wezesha Vijana Girls’ Advancement Program and started to attend school regularly. Her family was reluctant to continue to send Grace to school at first – in fact, it was known that
Grace would sometimes skip classes to continue helping her family make moonshine! But as they started to see evidence of Grace’s development over time, they gradually realized the importance of education and how it could open doors to a better future.
Since attending school full time, Grace found herself consistently at number 1 in her class every year. After 3 years, she went on to being number 1 in the entire Babati school district! Even now, she continues to work hard in school to reach her dreams of becoming a teacher, a feat which would have been impossible without further education.
Grace is currently in high school, the first member in her extended family to do so. Her mother and grandmother look up to her and see how the knowledge she’s gaining is making a bright future possible for the whole family.
To read more about child labor and the importance of education, check out the 2015 PDF from the International Labour Organization here.
To help other young children become role models to their family members – TAKE ACTION NOW.
Join Asante Africa Foundation.