NCC urges blind beggars to send kids to school
June 14, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Commissioner of the National Commission for Children (NCC) has urged blind beggars residing at the New Town Community via Wilkinson Road in Freetown to ensure that their children are educated.
Ms. Olayinka Laggah made the appeal yesterday during an engagement organized by the NCC in collaboration with the National Commission for Persons with Disability and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, to mark this year’s World Day Against Child Labour on June 12, 2017.
The World Day Against Child Labour is an International Labour Organization’s (ILO) sanctioned holiday, which was first launched in 2002 with the aim of raising awareness and activism to prevent child labour.
Every day in Freetown, beggars, especially the blind roam the streets of Freetown with their children or relatives directing them to fend for themselves.
According to Commissioner Laggah, the work children were made to do by their parents and guardians on a daily basis affect their education, health and development.
She stressed that they were not against children working for their family or taking their parents to beg on the streets for a living, but sending them to school to acquire quality education should be paramount.
“Children are working a lot and this is preventing them from going to school. We are not against children working, but all we are saying is that they should be allowed to go to school to be educated,” she said.
As a commission responsible to ensure that children turn out to be good citizens, Commissioner Laggah urged beggars to allow their children to learn something beneficial in school for their survival.
She added that her commission does not frown at children or their parents, but rather they were against children being use as labourers.
During their testimonies, some of the beggars stated that they were not against educating their children but they were constrained.
They claimed that they have long been neglected by government and other organizations, in terms of providing basic amenities, as well as scholarship for their children to attend school.
“To educate our children in this country is not an easy task. We are constrained. We depend on begging to take care of our needs and educate our children. What we are getting from the streets through begging is not enough to solve our problems,” Foday Jaward said.
He highlighted lack of access to health, water and facilities as their serious concern and noted that because of the lack of toilet and water where they are residing currently, they had to pay money before they could defecate and fetch water.
Speaker after speaker spoke about the effect and dangers of child labour and urged beggars to allow their children to be educated in school for a better future.