Children hustle for school fees

Children as young as nine are forced to work as vendors in order to raise money to pay themselves through school.

“I have to sell airtime in order to raise my school fees because my grandmother cannot manage,” said Dennis from Chitungwiza.

Dennis sells airtime at bus terminuses during the holidays and after school during the term. His case is not an isolated one, with hundreds of children believed to be trying to raise money for their school fees. This is in spite of the existence of the Basic Education Assistance Module which is supposed to provide a safety net for orphaned and vulnerable children.

There are allegations that children have been enlisted on BEAM on the basis of their parents’ political affiliation.

In an interview, Innocent Ndabili, the President of Zimbabwe’s Unemployed People’s Association, said that the government should come clean on who has benefited from BEAM in the past year.

“We have told the responsible ministries that our members are demanding a public audit as to which children have benefitted from the BEAM programme. We want an explanation of why some children who met the criteria were denied access to the facility,” said Ndabili.

Last year Minister of Labour and Social Services, Paurina Mpariwa, urged political parties not to politicize the facility.

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