Former Child Laborers Free Quality Education Keys to End Child Labor – Global Issues

Agbavor fortunately survived child labor in Ghana and taught himself by selling ice cream.  The Pentecostal church paid for his schooling while he was studying to be a nurse, but he still sold juice to keep the food on the table.  Credit: Cecilia Russell / IPS
Agbavor fortunately survived child labor in Ghana and taught himself by selling ice cream. The Pentecostal church paid for his schooling while he was studying to be a nurse, but he still sold juice to keep the food on the table. Credit: Cecilia Russell / IPS
  • by Fawzia Moodley (durban)
  • Joint press service

Agbavor’s life trajectory shows how the horrors of child labor and how poverty and lack of education rob people of childhood and their prospects for a good future.

The link between the lack of education, mainly due to poverty, as the root cause of child labor, underpinned almost every discussion at the Conference held in Durban, South Africa in May. 2022.

Currently a sophomore nursing student at Pentecost College, Agbavor has never enjoyed a childhood. At the age of 4, his mother sent him to his uncle in a remote village because she could not provide for her son. He had to help his ‘grandfather’ in his fishing business.

His mother brought him home four months later, fearing for Agbavor’s life after he fell off her uncle’s canoe and nearly drowned.

Two years later, he was sent to another relative, a crop farmer. Therefore, this six-year-old boy has to wake up at 3 a.m. every day to start work: “I have to collect fresh wine from jaggery trees to distill it. I did this along with the household chores every morning. “

By the time Agbavor got to school, he was exhausted. “Sometimes I get very nervous and fall asleep, and I often don’t understand anything that is taught in class.”

After school, he tries to earn money to pay for his school fees by taking cocoa from the farm and packing it for processing.

“Sometimes, we go to the forest to cut firewood. We used a chainsaw and then lifted the beams onto the car for transportation.”

It is illegal to cut trees.

“The forest guards will stop us because it is illegal. So they will arrest the moderator and you won’t get paid even the meager amount we worked so hard for,” he said.

Agbavor often goes to school in tattered uniforms and uses one book for all of his subjects.

This continued for ten years, but at least he got a rudimentary education.

“Glory to God, I passed my basic education in 2012 so I could continue my high school, but unfortunately my ‘grandfather’ said he had no money even though I did. job for him for the past ten years,” he said.

Agbavor returned to live with his mother, his financial situation was still bad, and he had to support himself.

“I started selling ice cream, coconuts, bread. I even ventured into photography with my uncle, who had a studio where he promised to give me a job and send me to high school, but after working for him a years, he has not kept his promise”.

Agbavor said he then went full-time on a ‘business’ selling ice cream on the street to raise money for the high school. He worked long hours and had to sell a lot of ice cream to make ends meet.

Unfortunately, Agbavor, who wanted to be a doctor, didn’t get the results he needed to go to medical school, so he decided to study a nursing degree as a way to eventually study medicine.

The Pentecostal Church agreed to pay his fees, but he still had to find money for food and other necessities. He now sells juice to earn an income and said he is grateful to some local benefactors who have helped him at times. But life is far from rosy. He was not at home and slept on a mattress in the church.

Agbavor’s presence at the conference was thanks to the National Association of Students of Ghana, who felt Agbavor’s story would be an interesting one. He is among a number of child labor survivors, including some saved by the Kailash Satyarthi Foundation, who shared their stories..

This is Agbavor’s first trip outside of his home country. However, his confidence and charisma has allowed him to stand his ground at a conference attended by politicians, business people, trade unions and NGOs around the world. Around the world.

He attributes his ability to stand his ground due to his difficult upbringing.

“I have seen the worst of my life. It makes me strong. I am like a seed. I sprouted out of the soil. It is the same potential that millions of other children (in bondage) have. ”

Agbavor’s message to the conference was that while access to free education was key to freeing children from bondage, the quality of that education was equally important.

“I want to tell people that the schools that educate the children of ministers, politicians, doctors, those schools can absorb and educate child labor,” he said.

Report of the United Nations Office IPS

This is one of a series of stories IPS has published around the 5th Global Conference on Elimination of Child Labor in Durban, South Africa.

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© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service

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