Social Welfare Office bemoans increased number of child vendors

Karonga District Social Welfare Office has expressed concern over an increased number of children involved in vending at trading centres in the district.

Speaking in an interview on Tuesday, Karonga district social welfare officer Atupele Mwalweni said the malpractice impacts negatively on children’s right to education.

Young girls selling merchandise at a trading centre in Karonga

“Vending by children, especially girls, is on the increase at the main township and almost all trading centres and the trend leads children to drop out of school,” she said.

Mwalweni said the situation is worsening despite her office engaging other stakeholders, including police, child protection and market committees to assist in addressing the issue.

“Poverty is the root cause of the problem, but government is doing something to address the situation through social cash transfer programmes,” she said.

Mwalweni said her office is financially-challenged to conduct awareness campaigns on the ills of involving children in vending, especially during school time.

An 11-year-old girl who sells bananas at Karonga Market confessed to have been sent on the errands by her mother to raise money for the family.

“I dropped out of school in Standard Four to help my family sell some food stuff in town and after that I got interested in vending. Later, I decided to concentrate on the business,” she said.

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