Monday, 20 May 2013

Can We Really Live Without househelps?

It started out when a guy sent a tweet to Gidi_Traffic asking for leads to help him secure a househelp, he specified female, aged 12-15 and this caused a stir on twitter, and I’m honestly wondering what the uproar was about after all employing the services of under aged persons in our homes is as old as anyone can think of in Nigeria. This is not to support the trend but I feel we shouldn’t come out in public and cast stones when most of us are guilty of same deeds especially the married ones. The concept of child labour stresses that when you engage the services of under aged persons, it deprives them of their childhood, their ability to attend regular school, leaves them vulnerable to exploitation and wanton abuse and this is mentally, physically, socially and morally dangerous. Most people would argue that their “wards” attend school regularly and are treated well but is that enough? What yardstick does society use in evaluating what level of care should be given to these kids? Would you allow your househelp sit on the dining table with the rest of the family? Would you send them to the same school where your own kids have been enrolled? Especially where you have to pay huge amounts as fees? How far are you willing to go to ensure that you are not labeled an “abuser”? Most importantly who do we blame for the child labour malaise? The parents who give up these kids due to harsh economic conditions? The employers of child labour who cannot do their chores? Or the government for not ensuring condusive economic environment for families, not enacting proper punitive laws protecting the rights of these kids?


  1. I think adult house helps are better- I mean someone who knows his or her rights, not some underaged hands. Most of us think because we pay, they could be treated like a slave. Because I fear they may not be treated fairly, I don't engage them.

    1. if they are treated fairly, is it enough to engage an underage for such services?

  2. i totally agree that when you engage the services of an under aged persons, it deprives them of their total childhood, their ability to attend regular school (if there is school at all for them), leaves them vulnerable to exploitation and wantonly abused (so often) and this is mentally, physically, socially and morally wrong but again i ask myself which is better?

    for these kids to be employed or be left on the streets?

  3. Hmmm, having a house help to me is unacceptable. What is the use of hiring one if both parents are bad managers of their home. A man and woman, should make out time to manage their home with help or assistance from their kids. This would enable their kids to be more responsible in life. The moment you get someone to help around, your kids would definitely depend on others to help them solve their problems. For no house help at all.

  4. Well, it's child abuse and I feel that UNICEF should be intervening! Why employ a child when the level of unemployment is high in Nigeria? Why not employ a mother, father or youths who are out of work? When will a 12-15 year old get basic education if she is stuck in some snob's house as househelp? The Nigerian government is failing the children, UNICEF and all other child protection organisations are failing children in most west African countries!

  5. many unemployed youths want to be househelps? Its like a stigma seems crude that we use underage kids, but let's look at the extenuating circumstances:
    1. Parents give birth to kids they can't cater, do you leave the kid at home to die of hunger or hawk on the streets?
    2. An underage kid who hawks for the parent is the same as a househelp (same child abuse rule applies)
    3. A kid living as a househelp poses less security threat to the society than a kid on the street trying to eke out a living

    My comments above do not justify underage labour, just statements of facts...however, here's a way out

    1. Parents should stop giving birth to kids they can't manage
    2. The government should step up abeg
    3. The immigration laws are either porous or its enforcers are weaklings...many of the children are 'imported'...if you live in Surulere, Lagos, believe me, most of the Togo food sellers named 'Bose or Fati' are imported child labourers
    4. People really don't need fulltime house helps, its too expensive and has too many moral and legal shenanigans attached...get someone of age who comes in 2-3 times a week to do the difficult chores..
    5. If you're rich enough, get a matured live-in have broken no legal or religious law...
    My 3piece

  6. i agree with the last person who commented..........on the flip side, if you get this kain grown up female house help, yawa fit gas

  7. Labor is cheap is Nigeria that's why loads of people can afford helps. However, preferring a minor? **question mark***

    Nice blog here Estelle!....

  8. U no trust ya sef by ya sef

    So u fit involve ur female house help wen madam no dey around? Lol....

  9. yes i will need a househelp but someone from my husband's place...she will have to go to school from my house and be with my kids whn am busy in the kidchen
    however if none is available i will employ nannies to do my washing and cleaning every wednesdays n fridays...she comes in the money and go in the evening.KENECHI OKAFOR.