Project helps 350 children return to school

A local non-governmental organisation has just completed a pilot project in Chiredzi which has seen 350 children removed from places of work to attend school.

The Coalition Against Child Labour in Zimbabwe (CACLAZ), spearheading the project hopes to have returned 1 000 children in Chiredzi back to school in the next three years.

CACLAZ National Co-ordinator Pascal Masocha said his organisation was promoting what they called child labour free zones. These were like ‘bridge schools’ or ‘incubation centres’ where children were housed temporarily while they received psycho social support and screening tests to determine their academic capabilities before they are released from work and placed into schools.

The concept is a replication of the Indian model which is now two years old and has successfully returned one million children to school.

“In the next three years, we hope to ride on the success of the pilot project and send 1 000 children back to school in two wards in Chiredzi,” said Masocha.”Hopefully with the help of other stakeholders we will continue expanding our project to many more parts of the country.”

Five other African countries- Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Morocco and Ghana- are also implementing this concept. This followed a 2010 exchange visit to India by African agencies.

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