Our concern over street children
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Please allow me a space in your widely read newspaper to express my deepest concern over young children who are been sent to the country either for the purpose of Quranic memorisation or other purposes. These category of children are exploiting day by day on streets either by their close relatives or other guardians.
For whatever reasons they might be sent into the country, they deserve better treatment, love and caring. They must not be allow under any circumstances to indulge into unwilling activities or to take decisions for themselves, which are detrimental to their life.
it all happened some few days ago at around seven pm on the evening at West Field junction, when surprisingly came across a seven-year old boy who claimed to earn a living through filling in passengers to a taxi and compensated by the drivers after the job.
As he approach me to be boarded in the taxi, I called him and asked him of what must have warranted him to engage in such risky ventures at that younger age. To my surprise, his response was that, he was sent to the country by his biological parents residing in Guinea Conakry, to memorise the Holy Quran under the guardian of his uncle. But according to him, he learnt very little from the Quran as he is always forced to go out and lobby for his cost of living. The young boy could not end narating his unfortunate situation as he was crying very bitterly.
However, for whatever reason his cycle must have confronted with, this is unacceptable as the young boy is exploiting everyday and the trend can cause pshycological harm to him. Just imagine how risky that job could be. If he is not encourage to focus on his education, he shouldn't be exploited in such a dirty way of living.
What is clear is that, guardians are not strong enough to take up their responsibilities then they should not even vow to accommodate them when their earning cannot meet their demands.
The phenonmenon of Street Children, which is very common in the rest of Africa (apparently Kenya and South Africa may have as many as 1 million street children each!) should be guarded against in The Gambia. Childhood vagrancy is the single biggest contributor to crime. I am sure The Gambia's Child Protection Alliance and the Social Welfare Department will take note of your letter.