Oct 31, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — Children in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state are forced to fend for themselves due to the poor living conditions caused by the hard economic situations.
The suffering has worsen despite that the newly appointed governor, Hon. Tong Akeen Ngor, just shared a meal with them here on the street in July this year.
The children have resorted to carry out menial jobs like making bricks, burning charcoal, riding chariots, selling fuel among others jobs so as to cater for food and other basic needs.
While speaking to a local radio station in Aweil, these children said that they have no choice but to work to provide for their family as most parents are jobless.
“I am thirteen years old. My family does not have food so I come to work and take money home so that people can eat. I have been working here for fifteen days. I don’t go to school. My mother and father do not have jobs,” Deng Mayen, who dropped out of school due to the hard living conditions said.
“We don’t want to steal somebody’s property and we are riding donkeys for money. We need our power. I have been working in the chariot since I was little about 10 years old. I have been working for a very long time and I don’t want to take away another person’s thing that is why I ride my donkey. This is my maternal uncle’s donkey; I work here and take his money home and he gives me mine. There are street children who do not work; they take away somebody’s things,’’ Anguei Lual, a 14-year-old boy said.
“The reason I come to make bricks is to search for my money. I stay without money if don’t work. We are pupils and our school in Yienth-Aluk was closed and I have started working here ten days ago,” 11-year-old Makuc Bol said.
The people who offer them the jobs have defended the act saying that engaging them in those activities provides for them while keeping them away from crimes.
“The reason why I assign them is to protect them from idleness and to prevent them from engaging in bad activities. Of course, they were at school in the past and when this problem of coronavirus appeared, they became idle,” James Garang said.
Abraham Wol Kon, the Executive Director for Child Care Foundation- South Sudan (CCDF-SS), said child labor is prohibited by the laws of the land.
The south Sudan laws prohibits child labor stating that every child has the right and must be protected from things that may harm their physical health, education, and mental health.
The newly established administration of Hon. Tong Akeen toured the city of Aweil in July and is aware of the conditions facing the street children, their parents and the market in general; however, very little has been done so far the state governments are currently a one-man show.
Similar conditions can be seen on the streets in the national capital, Juba, where children and elderly populations have resorted to begging for food for a living.
South Sudan attained her independence in 2011 with hope to improve living conditions for the citizens but things have instead worsen since the war resumed on a larger scale than during the pre-independence period.