The first thought that comes to most minds when they see such picture is child abuse/trafficking. The denial of children’s right to have a safe and protected life. This ideology has been fetched out of western thinking that children should have the right of being children until they grow up and not been forced to be an adult as a child. Every child deserves to have the best upbringing and education without being forced to be on the streets daily. Nonetheless, the society has not made it any easier for the children to have the best of life. In fact, if these children were questioned on their rights been abused, not all of them will accept to that claim. Some believe they are helping their parents whom they think are really struggling to take care of the family. More so, they believe being on the streets have enhanced their personalities.
As a child from an average family, I had the best childhood but each passing day, I see children who hawked on the streets and in the markets and I admire them for their strength and to me, I felt they were having the best fun of meeting many people. I saw them as strong kids who cannot be intimidated or shy.
One day, my brother and I planned that we will go and hawk water in a market that was about 10 kilometers from our house. This was during the holidays. My parents left for work with the instruction that we should read our books and have siesta. When it was siesta time, the house help was fast asleep. My brother and I took a big bucket and some cups, we had money to buy ice block on the way to chill the water that we wanted to sell. We were excited. I was the one shouting, “buy your water here” just as we often hear the children shout while my brother was the one carrying the bucket of water on his head. After about 30mins, I lost my voice, we lost our way to the market and we only had four people who bought water from us. My brother kicked his leg on a big stone and fell down the bucket of water. We lost everything. We suddenly realized this was not fun; imagine if we had to do this every day to help our parents. As helpless as we were, we hoped we could see anyone to trace our way back home. Luckily someone identified us the time we were leaving for the market to hawk who then told our parents where they last saw us. We were punished for what we did and also told the implication of it.
To be honest I can confidently tell you that most of the children who hawked when we were kids are living a better life now. Some have built houses and some are in top positions of authority. If you ask them now if they felt they were abused by their parents, not all will accept that claim. Personally, I think children should be given the chance to have a better childhood and not been sent out to the streets to assist the family. Not all children are able to deal with bad exposure that the street life throws at them. Some children have been swamped by the bad habits of the streets and this has transformed their lives in a worse manner as an adult. The notion of better life for children will continue to be pursued until the goal is achieved so that we can have a better society.
Every adult who had hawked while they were children may have a better perception on how this issue of street hawking by children can be minimized and also the effect this will have on the society.
Kindly share your thoughts.
162 days ago