It’s almost a standard scenario: children, especially girls, are lured to the city under false pretences, often being promised they will be able to attend school. Relatives or acquaintances take the children and upon arrival force them to work as domestic help with some family. They do not receive the remuneration they were promised and often become victims of violence, abuse and exploitation. This also happened to 11-year-old Sophia from Uganda, but fortunately she was saved.
Sophia: “The lady that took me to Kampala promised my mother she would send me to school. In return, I would have to perform light domestic work. I would earn 10,000 shilling (approximately € 2.35) per month. That money was never paid and I never went to school. I was also beaten and belittled.
A Platform for Labour Action* (partner of Terre des Hommes) volunteer tracked me down, even though the lady of the house tried to hide me. She was almost arrested, but after she voluntarily handed me over to the police and paid my outstanding wages of 155,000 shilling (approximately € 47), she only received a slap on the wrist. For me it means that I can return home and can finally go back to school.
In East Africa there are millions of children like Sophia. For them work is a daily reality. One in four children (27%) between the ages of 5 and 14 are employed as child labourer in the agricultural, industrial or service sector. This means that their school education is severely impeded, to say the least. Often, however, these child labourers stop school completely.
In Uganda and Tanzania Terre des Hommes is particularly committed to children who are forced to work in small-scale mining and as domestic help in people’s homes. We support children who are exploited to stop working by giving them access to education. Together with the parents/caregivers we create alternative sources of income for the family, and thus ensure the children no longer have to work. We also educate the police, judicial employees and other public servants about child labour and what they can do about it.
Children who fall victim to exploitation need protection and support. Together with partner organisations and our sponsors, we arrange for shelter, care and education. We were able to help Sophia and she can go back to school. Now let's help other children like her. Will you join us?
* PLA works with teams of volunteers in places that are known for housing many young domestic slaves, like the Kampala’s slums. The volunteers live and work in the same area, know the area and the inhabitants well and this way track down the domestic workers.
Sophia together with a social worker of PLA