Juveniles and Primary School Children in Mt Hagen City celebrated the International Labour and Drug Abuse Day last Thursday.
It was hosted by Mercy Works, led by Sisters from the Catholic Church as awareness for school kids on their rights.
The International Labor and Drug Abuse Day is celebrated worldwide every 12th of June.
The International Child Labour and Drug Abuse day was launched in 2002 by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and drug abuse, and the efforts needed to eliminate it.
The Highlands Regional Manager for the Ombudsman Commission, Ben Kapen, told the school children that kids between the ages of 5 and 6 years old in Mt Hagen have already been exposed to smoking and drinking.
Students were urged not to try smoking or drinking at an early age, because of its harmful effects.
Some of the children who attended the Child Labour day in Mt Hagen do not go to school, but work for money.
They are currently in their early teens and are working as ‘market taxis’ carrying vegetable bags for market shoppers.
The main message for the carriers, juveniles and the students was for them to know their rights and understand their obligations.
Some ways are for them to get involved in sports, church, and to get an education.
Bonny Mek is an example.
He was imprisoned for two years for taking part in illegal mining at Porgera Mine and was released on Friday.
His story was that he left school at Grade 8 to join illegal miners.
Today, he regrets not having stayed in school.
But life is not over for him. He will join the Rabiamul Vocational Centre in Mt Hagen, which was organized by the Baisu Jail Welfare Coordinator, Peter Tei, and the Archdiocese of Mt Hagen.