rosemary wanguitakes care of 13 children. four are her own, four are from a sisterwho one day simply disappeared and five are from her second sisterwho died of aids. it is unthinkable how this womansustains a family dependent on her through no fault of her own. "well, we just live as we live. for example, when i find temporary work, i can buy flour for the children. the ones who are in school go to school.
but in hard timesthey have to look for work too. this is how we survive." there is not one steadybreadwinner in this household. rosemaryâ€™s eldest son, john njenga,sometimes breaks rocks in a nearby quarry, earning one dollar (80 shillings) a day. he was 12 when he first started.. his cousin george dropped out of schoolto begin working full time when his mother fell ill with hiv/aids. up until that pointhe used to join his mother
for harvesting coffeeduring holidays and weekends only. the familyâ€™s hopelies in lucy njokiâ€™s education. when her motherwas diagnosed with hiv/aids, lucy dropped out of school to support her. but after her motherâ€™s death, an ngo funded lucyâ€™s return to school. she still works in the eveningand on week-ends, or like today, during holidays. but lucy is up against a ticking clock.
at the end of the year,the ngo will no longer fund her schooling. her temporary job is about to becomeher full-time job again. "when i work on other peopleâ€™s farmsi donâ€™t enjoy it. iâ€™m still a child and i shouldnâ€™t be workingas a labourer at my age. sometimes i get very tired. but i canâ€™t stop workinguntil i find someone to help me." the international labour organisationsays 41 percent of kenyaâ€™s children aged between 10 and 14are child labourers. the kenyan government is tryingto get children back to school
as part of its strategy to end child labour. but hiv/aids is seriously challengingany attempts to do just that. "it is ironical that kenya just passed a bill that made primary educationfor children compulsory, free and compulsory, and at the same timethe hiv/aids problem is saying no, that is not going to happen." while her government decides how to fund its intention to offerfree and compulsory education,
lucy will have no choicebut to become a child labourer again.