366,000 street children living under harsh condition – Gender Ministry reports

MONROVIA – For more than two decades. Liberia has been battling the issue of child labor, with thousands of young children between ages of 5-16 out school.

In 2018 during President Weah inaugural address he promised to make sure to that Liberian are not spectators in their own economy and also promised to address the issue of child labor.

It has gone 5 years since the ascendency of President George Weah, yet there are still more children out of school and selling on the streets of Monrovia.

The country economy has not improved many Liberians are jobless even those with jobs are under paid. Liberia is significantly behind most other African countries in nearly all education statistics.

However, the latest statistics from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and partners show that over 366,000 children are living in the streets of Liberia under “harsh” economic situation.

According to UNICEF 2020 report, Liberia has one of the world’s highest levels of out-school children, with an estimated 15 to 20 per cent of 6–14-year-olds who are not in class.

Just over a third of preschoolers have access to early childhood learning programs and only 54 per cent of children complete primary education.

Economic poverty plays a major role, though other factors are of equally high importance, including deaths of parents, neglecting by parents and other social factors such as violence and abuse of children at home or within communities.

The lack of economic opportunities and the declining education system have also played a role in children living on the streets.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 64 percent of Liberians live below the poverty line ($1.25/day), with 1.3 million living in extreme poverty.

Meanwhile speaking at the program marking the observance of the World Day Against Child Labor, the Assistant Minister for Children and Social Protection, Maminah Gaye said Montserrado County has the highest number of street children with 153,982 and Rivercess County with 100 street children.

Poverty has led many parents to force their children to work in the city streets for extra income.

Assistant Minister Gaye said Montserrado County has the highest number of street children with 153,982 and Rivercess County with 100 street children.

People living in the rural area finds it difficult to support their children in school as the result they (the children) are sent to the city to relatives and friends for better education.

Unfortunately for some children once in the city, they are exploited for their labor.

Even if they escape such situation, they will remain living the city, where they result to selling in the street and prostitution to survive.

Reasons as to why a child maybe living on the street in Liberia are many, but one thing that remains clear is that street children face risks and are vulnerable to violence, abuse, neglect, child labor and sexual exploitation.

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