Located on a dusty pavement of one of Yamoussoukro’s main roads, a sewing workshop stands out from the myriad of hardware stores and fruit stalls.
Sitting in the shade of a tin-roofed sewing shop, wearing a traditional shirt in pink and yellow, Khalifa Traore loads a bobbin of thread into one of his sewing machines. Five young people work with him, including his daughter and two former tantie bagage who traded a life of heavy lifting at the market for literacy, vocational training, and the prospect of better employment.
Tantie bagage is a widespread child labour practice in Côte d’Ivoire and involves mostly young girls, aged six to 18 years, who carry heavy loads for other people to earn some money to support their families or help pay for school.
“One of the greatest challenges to addressing child labour in Côte d’Ivoire is the complex web of reasons why children work and the inextricable link to poverty," says Mamadou Diakite, who heads the SOS family strengthening programme in Yamoussoukro. "Causes may vary from community, and even from family, and are often not due to one specific factor.”