A child in pain after having been beaten and
tied on a tree trunk.
Have you ever come across children being maltreated by their aunts, step mothers, worse even atimes by their own very parents? it’s unfortunate that many times children are not given their ample possibility to exploit their minds of what they think, instead most are deprived of thier rights but they are mostly engaged in works of oppression which retards their welbeing. Child labor means indulging the child in arduous labor treatment like giving heavy work that doesnot correspond to their age, abusing them by bullying and beating which affects their social, physical, mental development and potential to grow up with dignity and love for self and others. Child labor is a serious violation pf children,s rights as it inhuman activities and denial of basic needs like rights to education, food, shelter, clothes and medical care.
Thus, i present to you in this article of a ten year old girl (10) little orphan who experienced a number of these mistreatments mentioned above by her ruthless aunt after the death of her parents in a fatal accident that exposed her to life of crisis, regrets, forced maturity, phisical abuse, poor physical and mental health traumatization.
BRENDA’S NASTY EXPERIENCE
Brenda was from a very happy family of Mr.Mathew and Mary who lived in the village of Warr Offaka, Warr sub-county, Zombo district Uganda, though spent most of their time in town due to their occupations, she was the only child of her parents, it was such a well family, well formed in responsility of parenthood, moral, spiritual and a well social formation of children.It was a model family that everyone looked up to, so prayerful and observed so much the rights of children and oftenly encouraged many families to do the same in all aspects. In addition, it was a caring family that promised their only daugter that they would do all it takes to ensure her well being in all dimensions of life; physical, mental and emortional. Due to this parental care and provision of adquate basic needs and career guidance, Brenda widely improved her mental resoning and excellency in all activities she would carry out like getting first position with high scores in school, having ambitious and strong vision to the extent of one day she surprised her parents by proposing to them that besides her ambition of becoming a doctor, she desires to have a music project and her parents voluntarily accepted to support her until she achieves her dreams and that was the happiest momment for Brenda and assurance that she would realise her heart desires and promised her parents to work hard.
One Saturday morning, while Mr. Mathew and Mary were traveling to their friend’s wedding ceremony, suddenly their car lost brakes on a steep shirp corner and ended in a fatal accident that claimed their lives living the little girl a total ophan. fortunately their daughter was in another car following them, coming closer to the scene of the accident, Brenda was shocked to see her beloved parents lying in a pool of blood. What a nasty experience it was!! she wept and exclaimed “gone is my future! gone is my life!! “Death has robbed me of my treasure” and fainted.
One Sunday morning, all well – dressed and ready to go to church, Amanda saw her cousin Brenda was smarter than her she began to envy her sister’s good clothes and wanted the very clothes of her cousin. Reaching the church, Brenda was more elegant and shining with her smart wear, when the friends of Amanda asked her who Brenda was, she responded as her mother instructed but this did caltivated a sort of doubts to her friends because they wondered how could a maid be smarter than the daughter of the boss, Amanda was full of shame and disappointment of her friends. little did Brenda know it was the last time for her to wear her good clothes and shoes. returning home, she reported to her mother the scenario, Joselline Brenda’s aunt immediately ordered for all Brenda’s belongings out inoder to be checked and she did as her aunt had ordered ,her aunt then confiscated all her things and handed them to her daughter replacing them with rugs and torn clothes for Brenda to begin life with, this made the little girl burst into tears because it was unbelievable!.it was very hard for her to detach herself from her good clothes and to adapt to walking without shoes. she was slapped, chained, kicked and pushed to the kitchen to begin cooking and later was told to wash clothes while the aunt and her children entered in the house to wait for food after they had divided her clothes and the shoes.
As if that was not enough, given her little age, Brenda did not know how to cook but when the brutal aunt arrived in the kitchen and found her struggling with cooking while still crying, she immediately began to cain her claiming that she had no respect for elders and added that “i’m not the 0ne who killed your parents before making you learn how to cook and the more times you are under my roof, you will have to do as i command”.” ihhhhhh!!! auntttttt!!!” cried Brenda but she was chat down not to say anything. This left Brenda in pain, distress and could not still believe the mistreatment of her aunt, she deprived her of the freedom of expression and became so fearful and regretted the day she was born.
As school time drew closer, Brenda full of fear and trembling asked her aunt to at least allow her go to school, unfortunately as soon as she made her hamble request, she was slapped and hit on the head and shouted “You will never go to school and your future is condemned as long as i live” furthermore, she confiscated the documents and assets of the late family of Mr, Mathew, it should be recalled that Mathew and Mary had merited many properties such as land, estates, rentals, microfinance and farms for their daughter, yet the little girl lived in object poverty. she was denied good clothes, to the extent that at night she would sleep in the kitchen or veranda while her aunts enjoyed good house. Many times Brenda would spend sleepless night memorizing the life she lived before the death of her parents and began to pray for her own death which did not come immediately. Due to the denial of food, this little girl would sneak to go and eat on the food for their dogs or in the gabbages in order to sustain her life it was such unimaginable for her.
In the same line, Brenda was denied health care and treatments many times she fell sick and one of the most worse moments in her life was when she was sent to go and wash clothes under rain in the night which made her severely sick to death point, she was rushed to the hospital by a concern neighbor where she met a closest doctor who was a friend to the family of late Mathew, this doctor immediately recognised and treated her professionally until she was fine again.
After recovering from her sickness, the doctor asked her to explain her life of which she did amidst continous tears which drew the attention of the doctor, he then realized the hard situation of this little girl, he consoled her and took her along with her to her home and promised to take care of Brenda and make her study and realized her dreams not forgetting to make her aunt account for the consequences of her mistreating the little girl. This gave Brenda a clear view of joy which she had never experienced since the death of her parents and the fact of embarking on studies once again, she felt at home and developed the zeal and began again to focus on her education and other activities meanwhile the doctor traced for her aunt to be arrested. Therefore, we can certainly say Brendas sickness was a blessing in disguise!! All happens for a reason and no condition is permanent.
Conclusively child labor is not just about forcing children to work, it’s side effects are quite numerous and gruesome, it lives a lot of strain on the child’s mind, interferes with their mental and emortional health, prevents their proper growth and development, thus its a blemish on the face of a community that must be erased as soon as possible so that the children may not live in fear and hatrade growing into men and women with dignity and respect.
- Zeanah CH,Humphreys KL, Child Abuse and Neglect. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2018.
- Uganda National child policy, 2020
- GOVERNMENT OF UGANDA – UNICEF.
- https://www.unicef.org › uganda › media › file PDF,13 ott 2020 — Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development Mission, … Uganda in 1990 and enacted in 1996 in a law for children, the Children.
- The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995 (Constitution) recognises the rights of the child and specifically provides for children’s right to health, right to education, and right to protection from exploitation.