Child Hawking- Blessing or Curse?

Child Hawking- Blessing or Curse?

It was a cool Monday evening, I was headed home when I accosted two underage girls along the street hawking vegetables and peppers respectively. They were familiar faces as I had been seeing them around for a while. Something about the older girl’s look caught my attention. She was dressed in an unusual manner, this was not a casual look. I was about teasing her to inquire when I overheard them talk about ‘birthday’. I finally couldn’t help it and so I asked. To my greatest disappointment, it was her birthday. She had just turned twelve and her sister was eight. I couldn’t believe she was hawking on a day she should be receiving special treats and gifts, I thought to myself as I walked home sadly.
Without a doubt, countless children today face the similar fate. Out of their will, they are compelled to roam the streets hawking just to make ends meet. The reason? – the deteriorating state of the country’s economy. I wouldn’t say I blame the parents who permits their children to hawk. I want to believe that every parent’s dream is to give their children the very best in life, that is of course if the economy permits.
Nowadays, almost every member of the family is involved in the contribution to the family income. Sadly, the underage ones are not left out. If truth be told, hawking on roads and streets have more disadvantage than benefits. Every time these little ones are sent out to hawk, they are prone to a number of bad circumstances such as kidnap, rape, accidents, assaults and even death. They face a 50-50% chance of returning home to their loved ones.
We mustn’t turn a blind eye to the effect hawking has on their education. Imagine the stress they go through every day after school hours only to return home to hawk later in the day. This will definitely take a toll on their mental health and might affect their academic performance.
Hawking in different conditions affects the physical health of these children. Unable to always predict the weather conditions correctly, they head out to hawk, exposing themselves to the sun’s scorching heat, heavy downpours and violent winds. These weather conditions may cause some abnormalities in their body systems thereby resulting into sickness.
Even after being aware of these underlying effects, some parents might still think hawking is a source of adding to the family income but if looked at critically, one can conclude that it could also be a source of pain and loss to them if anything happens to their children while hawking. To everything with an advantage, there’s a disadvantage. Here, the disadvantages outweighs the advantages.
How then can child hawking be reduced if not totally eradicated in the society?
Provision of employment opportunities: The government should provide jobs for the parents, thereby making it easier for the sustenance of their families especially when they are paid on time.
Provision of affordable and quality education: Government schools should be made affordable for the masses and should be well equipped with facilities that aids learning.
Development of the health care sector: There should be affordable and proper medical services for the public as many parents are physically unfit to fend for their families as a result of infirmity or diseases.
Whitney Houston once sang that the children are our future. They indeed are and so they deserve a better and brighter future. We shouldn’t deprive them of that now, should we?

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