Protecting the Kenyan child

July 27, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 11 – When a child is born, the occasion is normally one of joy and jubilation for the prospective parents. Gifts are showered upon the bundle of joy and at times even feasts fit for a king are prepared to help usher the newborn into the world.

Indeed many parents treasure these moments and from the word go invest a lot to ensure that their children’s future is well secured.

Sadly, though, the sailing is not always smooth for some children as they weather difficult times synonymous with the high cost of living so prevalent today.

Musa Mohamud is the first born of four orphans living in Tana River district and he recounted the rough terrain that he has had to trod since his parents passed away while he was still a mere boy.

“We are four boys and when our mother died, I became like a father to the other boys. I did small odd jobs so as to get at least a few coins like Sh20, Sh50 and so as to survive,” he said. 

Mr Musa explained that he and his siblings sometimes go for nearly seven days without food as the struggle for sustenance gets tougher.

“I have gone though a lot of problems and this has made me lose hope in everything. To get food is very difficult and I can even stay for six or seven days without eating but when I get something, I thank God.”

At times, the problems that children face are often man-made with many of them being subjected to such indignities as child labour while others are sexually exploited.

The Children Welfare Society is an organisation aimed at getting to the root cause of child abuse especially within the family.

National Chairman Joseph Kabugi outlined the organisation’s initiative in Mombasa aimed at stemming the various facets of child labour.

“We are very concerned about child labour. We are also very concerned about child sex tourism. We have a programme in Mombasa which is trying to look into some of those things especially tourism and child abuse,” he stated.

He is urging parents to inculcate in their children the need to be careful at all times, especially when approached by strangers.

He further stated that parents should take keen note of the whereabouts of their children describing it as an effective way of preventing kidnappings associated with child labour.

“Let’s try to know where our children are all the time, day and night and if possible take him to school, visit him in school and look at what he is doing,” Mr Kabugi implored.

Veteran politician Betty Tett, who is also a children’s rights activist, said that policies should be put in place to ensure children are also included in insurance covers.

“If you look at the children who are suffering, they are quite a huge number in Kenya today. If you further look at the policy of the government, they dont cover the children. They only cover the father and mother, and the one who is contributing to that kitty,” she decried.

“You wonder what happens to the other children who are not covered.”

Everyone should be in agreement that when it comes to the protection of the rights and welfare of children, most parents will readily put their own safety at risk to protect their offspring.

Indeed, if we don’t protect our children, the consequences can be disastrous but if we do, we give them a wonderful gift, a childhood that is innocent and free from calamity.


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