Monday, June 22, 2009

RWANDA: Vulnerable children living on the margins

Source: IRIN
The following are direct quotes from the article:
Lambert Rukeratabaro has turned 16, but is still only in the fourth year of primary school in Byumba, north of the capital, Kigali.  Like thousands of Rwandan children who lost their parents in the 1994 genocide or more recently to HIV/AIDS, Rukeratabaro is an orphan.

"I have been told that my parents died during the genocide," he told IRIN. "Our life is hard. Our parents left us some land so when the harvest is good, we have enough food for lunch and supper." Rukeratabaro's two sisters work on other farms to earn some money. "My sisters had eye and skin problems and it was very difficult getting medication," he said.

"There are at least 2.8 million vulnerable children in the country," said Gisele Rutayisire, the officer in charge of social protection and governance for child rights with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Kigali.  An estimated 100,000 Rwandan households are headed by children.

Rukeratabaro said his dream would be to continue his education but he lacks money and relies on well wishers for support with school materials.

"Although I am not very good at school I would like to study up to university so that I can assist my family," he said.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

CAMEROON: Bringing street children back home

The following are direct quotes from the article:
Ousmanou, 13, has lived in the streets of Cameroon’s political capital Yaoundé for four months. He and his brother used to live with their grandmother in the northern city of Maroua but she could not afford to feed them properly. Now Ousmanou often forages for food in trash bins.

“We often have no choice but to search the garbage for something to eat,” he told IRIN, nursing an arm injury for which he said he cannot afford to see a doctor. He said he has been unable to find work as he had hoped and has turned to begging.

Reasons for children ending up in the streets vary, from economic hardship to family conflicts to peer pressure, according to ministry interviews with children. Many children in Yaoundé told IRIN they left home desperate to find work, their families unable to support them. But most said they regret their decision, having hit a dead end.

He added: “Children are used to transport drugs; they are recruited into gangs."

Click here to read the entire article!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

KENYA: Domestic workers often do more than housework

Source: IRINnews
The following are direct quotes from the aforementioned article:

*When Nora Adhiambo, 21, started working as a housekeeper for a family in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, she expected to cook, clean and look after their young children; not that she would have to regularly have sex with her employer.

*"He would force me to have sex with him; every time he would sleep with me without a condom and this went on for two years," she told IRIN/PlusNews. "He threw me out when I told him I was pregnant; I realised later that I had not only left that house with a pregnancy but also HIV."

*Salaries are sometimes so low that they are forced to seek additional sources of income, including sex work; those forced out of their employer's home after being raped may resort to sex work as the only way to survive.

Click here to read the full article!

BENIN-NIGERIA: Learning English to enter the sex industry

The following are direct quotes from the aforementioned article:

Many young people in French-speaking Benin are learning English to adapt to globalization, but some young women have another goal: to enter the thriving sex industry in neighbouring Nigeria, where the market is considered more lucrative.

"Some of them, for example, go to learn English ... in Nigeria, for further study - not all of them go with the intention of becoming [sex workers], but their circumstances push them into it," said Legonou, who emphasized the need to "concentrate on awareness-raising of young girls", particularly to the risk of HIV.

Amy, a young sex worker near one of the big hotels in the city, came from Ivory Coast in 2007. She said she made enough money to rent an apartment for US$400 a month in a suburb of Abuja.

Nigeria has 2.6 million people living with HIV - the third highest HIV caseload in the world after India and South Africa – and a prevalence rate of 3.1 percent, compared to 2 percent in Benin, but this does not discourage young people.

Click here to read the full article!

WEST AFRICA: Combating world's lowest literacy rates

Source: IRINnews
The following are direct quotes from the aforementioned article:

*Illiteracy rates in West Africa are the highest in the world, cramping development and weakening citizens’ power to effect socio-economic and political change,

*Sixty-five million West African adults – 40 percent of the adult population – cannot read or write according to a new study, 'From closed books to open doors – West Africa's literacy challenge'.

*Of the 10 countries with the world’s lowest recorded adult – 15 and older – literacy rates, seven are in West Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone, the report says.

*An educated population will also show stronger support for democracy

*Education activist and former child soldier in Sierra Leone, Ishmael Beah, told IRIN: “Education is not only something to get a career or change your socio-economic status, but it is a way you can begin to understand your government and demand more of it.”

*Rich country aid to education in West Africa in 2007 was equal to just one per cent of what the US government spent on bailing out [insurance company] AIG alone,” Pearce said.

*When supporting education donors should pay more heed to literacy, the report says.

Click here to read the full article!