My friend Tolu is a 14 yr old girl who
hawks plantain most evening on weekdays and weekends. She comes to my compound
(which has two block of flats) regularly and I buy plantain from her. Some of the neighbours also buy from her. She is in JSS II. She sometimes hawks
with her sister Tayo. Tayo sells tomatoes & pepper. She is in SS1
(commercial class). They sometimes interchange the wares so that Tolu sells tomatoes while Tayo sells the plantain.
While child hawking might be prohibited by law, the poverty in many homes will not deter parents from sending their wards to hawk in order to supplement family earnings and pay for school fees. It is the task of a responsible government to reduce poverty through schemes which encourage honest livelihoods (farming, trading, SMEs (Small & Medium scale Enterprises) in general) and provide free education to children to at least secondary level and subsidize higher education fees. Provision of good infrastructures (road networks, rails, water, and electricity) will help SMEs develop and grow and make living standards among the people better. I suppose this is what government is really about in the first instance. I believe the middle class (which I belong now) has a duty to those below to help empower, enlighten and support them whenever and however possible. I am very much involved in this light within my local community as I understand that there is a big connection between what we experience in the larger society and what we do in our homes and the local communities we belong.