Zalika, Tanzania

Child domestic work is a global phenomenon, and tens of millions of children – mostly girls – are in paid or unpaid domestic work in the home of an employer or someone other than their immediate family. With our partners, we are empowering young people to advocate for themselves and their peers to protect themselves from exploitation in private homes.

One of the amazing people we’ve been working is Zalika* from Tanzania. A child domestic worker in Mwanza, Tanzania, Zalika is attending the Nyakato Vocational Training Centre, run by our partner the Tanzania Child Domestic Worker’s Coalition and striving for a brighter future.

Like many girls worldwide, Zalika experienced hardship at home and this led her to seek employment as a child domestic worker. In fact, in Tanzania, around one million children are engaged in domestic work in Tanzania, most of them girls.

Zalika, a former child domestic worker, training to be a plumber in the vocational workshop
Zalika from Tanzania during her vocational training. Image: Jessica Turner, Anti-Slavery International.

Poverty and hardship in rural areas force children to migrate to cities to find jobs in private households. Many girls also run away from home to avoid domestic abuse or forced marriage. Far from their families and vulnerable to exploitation, these children are often denied the salaries they are initially promised. They are often forced to work long hours and have little chance of attending school and getting an education. Many are subjected to physical and sexual abuse.

So, when Zalika was offered the opportunity of vocational training, she was delighted. Through the Tanzania Child Domestic Worker Coalition, Zalika has been able to learn a vocational skill and is using this opportunity to train as a plumber. Zalika is in fact the only female plumbing student at the training centre and is delighted to have this opportunity as this work is traditionally done by men.

Zalika from Tanzania studying plumbing

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Help us unlock the potential of other children in Tanzania like Zalika.

Zalika aims to inspire other girls that they too can learn to be a plumber, and dreams of running her own plumbing company and to be able to hire women into this business. She would like other women and girls to be able to learn from her – and we can’t think of any better way to help empower other women in her area and break gender biases in employment.

Zalika hopes that by learning this important skill she will be able to provide a better life for her family. She wants to have more opportunities and have a career beyond domestic work.

* name changed.

A teacher at the front of a class asks students questions at the vocational school in Tanzania
Vocational training in Tanzania. Image: Jessica Turner, Anti-Slavery International.

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