Parents in Nyamasheke district are worried over children dropping out of school to provide labour to fishermen in the location known as Murwa at the shores of Lake Kivu in exchange for food and money.
Talking to IGIHE, some of the children have attributed it to poverty.
“I have been working in the garden .Later I joined these fishermen to help in some works since I couldn’t go to school on an empty belly,” said Niyonkuru Jean Baptise, a primary three pupil found at the shores.
- Nyamasheke children receiving cassava bread from fishers
“I have come to look for a job so that I can find means to buy basic materials.I monger small fish and earn to be able to buy soap when paid but other children are attracted by food including cooked small fish and cassava bread,” said another child, Munezero Aimé.
Some parents have expressed worries for their children’s future over school drop out.
“Many of these children are orphans or from poor families that can’t buy even a notebook to use at school. So they prefer to go to the lake to share food with fishermen. Leaders should address the matter to avoid the risk of breeding thieves and street children if nothing is done,” said Nyirabimenyimana Adeline.
The mayor of Nyamasheke district, Kamali Aimé Fabien has said that they had banned such children at the lake but pledged to make follow up to solve the matter if children returned to the place.
“We have banned all children from the lake shores and we punish whoever found with a child there. It would be a serious matter if it happened again. We are going to make a follow up for strategic measures against the issue,” he said.
A total of 5181 children from Nyamasheke district abandoned school in the two previous trimesters of 2016 of who the majority are in tea plantations and doing odd jobs around Lake Kivu.
About 3801 of the children are from primary schools while 1380 are from secondary schools, Nyamasheke district education officers have revealed.