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Those boys must be in school


If you have used public means of transport in Juba and other towns you could most probably have come across young boys who man the taxi doors; commonly known as touts or conductors. These boys, some of whom are even below 10 years of age, start work as early as 7am and go up to past 7pm. This is detrimental to their growing up. It is not only child abuse according to our own Child Act and the Transitional Constitution, but also casts a dark shadow on our future generation. Having children who must be in school instead of working one is tempted to ask himself why they are working in the first place. Whom are they working for? This must not be happening in a country where almost 80% of the population is illiterate. We understand why this is so because of decades of war that hindered children from going to school, but until the senseless war that is raging on in some parts of the country, there has been peace in almost all the country, but this practice as been on for years. These children who must be at school are not only in public transport but you also find them in taxi (Mini bus) parks and in streets selling small merchandise like sweets and cigarettes. Others are engaged in the business of brushing people’s shoes. They roam form one office to another looking for customers; ironically their biggest customers are around our national ministries and other state agencies. These different officers who are supposed to force these kids to be in school are instead the one cheering them on by giving them business. Several writers have argued that if the education level in the country was high probably the current rebellion could have been avoided; maybe in a way these people are right. All these small boys who are in school going age must be forced to go back to school by forcing their parents to do so instead of taking them to work. Work in itself is not bad if it does not get in the way of full child development. What is most interesting though is, the big boys who are fit to be working are not, instead engaged in all sorts of illicit activities. While others get busy playing cards at working hours. You find them playing cards in the morning, drinking themselves silly to all sorts of alcohol and also pick pocketing. This is dangerous for a country that is just emerging out of a long civil war that destroyed generations. We must work hard to avoid the loss of another generation.

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