Today, the international workers’ day, is a holiday in many parts of the world. It is only right to take the time to celebrate all those who toil: women, men and children.
I included children because it’s important for children to learn the value of hard work early in life. This helps them set the tone for a successful life (if they apply other important principles like perseverance and passion into whatever they choose to do.) Kudos to those who work hard.
At the same time, we need to reflect on those children who toil like adult – selling, doing menial labour and other strenuous activities – when they should be in school learning with their peers.
Child labour needs to end. But for this to happen, governments must make the right policies that would improve the lives of children and also turn the economy prosperous. Criminalizing child labour without providing a safety net or improving their lives and that of their families still leaves them in dire situations.
Also, schools offering free education should make it quality education, otherwise these children cannot compete with their peers who are better off and would likely get more opportunities especially in countries where certificates and specialized skills are more important than other common skills.
I also use this opportunity to reflect on the importance of adequate nutrition for work and productivity. If you don’t eat well and live well, you may be hindering your productivity and your ability to achieve your dreams. This is because your health is clearly tied to your ability to think, move, and interact in society.
Giving good nutrition to children in the first two years of life is important because you set the tone for a well-balanced and productive life. A child who suffered from micronutrient deficiencies and other forms of malnutrition may have irreversible mental impairment, poor school performance and reduced ability to contribute effectively to the workforce in adulthood. It’s just best to give a child the right start – adequate nutrition from when she was conceived to the first two years of life. It’s a crucial stage in development. Studies are even saying that Dads need to improve their quality of life before conceiving their children as this impacts the health of the these children later in life.
So, let us give quality attention to Africa’s children. They need to be the best they can be. They need lives free of abuse, malnutrition and poor education. This is for the good of all of us.
Don’t forget to eat better and live better.
Happy International Workers’ Day.