By Mzukona Mantshontsho
STACEY FRU is a Multiple International Awards-Winning Author, Child Labour Activist, an Activist for Literacy, a Philanthropist, a Guitarist, and Ambassador.
I recently spoke to her about her journey of being Child Labour Activist and her journey thus far.
Tell us about your early life, your education, how old you are, how your childhood was like?
I am 15-year-old Stacey Fru, a grade 10 learner in Johannesburg. I am best known as the youngest international child rights’ activist and International Multiple Award-Winning Child Author based in Africa. I wrote my first book “Smelly Cats” at age 7. I have since dedicated a portion of my life to reach out, to inspire and edutain people of various ages across the world.
My best achievement is that one of my books is available in Braille and Daisy formats, to be read by visually impaired children. I run The Stacey Fru Foundation through which I reach out to donate books, food, computers and other items to children and care homes across Africa. Through my foundation, I also honour other African children who are impacting their communities by awarding them during The Annual African Children of the Year Awards held every November in South Africa.
I recently joined AfroStory as President and Director. AfroStory is Africa’s Best Tech-driven Reading App found in Play Store on https://bit.ly/3Hc79Xo
How did you get into child labour activism?
I have always felt bad to hear that children go missing. I hate seeing children selling or begging at road corners. So, I started finding ways to stop these. My 4th book published in 2019, “Where is Tammy”? Is based on child safety and security. It gives tips on how to stop child trafficking and child abduction. I started off by writing and directing its content in a play that was acted in four Gauteng Primary schools in 2016 when I was 9 years old.
Since then, I have been so focused on promoting child-rights. In 2021, I became the face of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and African Union’s (AU), International Campaign to End Child Labour 2021.
How long has it been?
Since 2015. Since I wrote my first book at the age of 7 without my parent’s knowledge. I have been advocating the use of Literacy as a tool to encourage child safety and eliminate child labour. My focus areas are Safety and Security, Child Abduction and Child Trafficking and Role-Modelling.
What drew you to child labour activism?
Apart from seeing children who labour and understanding that lack of education keeps children as labourers, I see child labour as an issue that affects the lives of many children in Africa. Look at this; about 152 million children in the world are victims of child labour, 72.1 million of them are in Africa. In 2021 I hosted the dialogue on how individuals can take action to prevent and eliminate child labour in their communities with the support of the African Union (AU) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) office for Africa, through its accelerating action for the Elimination of Child Labour in Supply Chains in Africa (ACCEL Africa) project, and my foundation, the Stacey Fru Foundation.
What do you want to see as a solution to child labour in Africa in general?
It is so sad for me because I believe that future of the continent depends on children. Everybody has a chance to make an impact on the issue of child labour, no matter how big or small, there is a child out there who needs you. I want to see everybody involved in the fight to End Child Labour. I want to see governments, international organizations, civil society and individuals taking action.
What are you working on to change the narrative and picture of child labour?
The Stacey Fru Foundation’s vision is, “Growing up, growing minds” and its value is “Impacting the best,” As it motivates and empowers community members and educate them on Child Labour. I am working on education.
What can we expect from you going forward?
My plea is to Play-Our-Part to end Child Labour. I am seeking partnerships with Governments, international organizations, civil society and individuals to End Child Labour in order to brighten the future of children.
When you not at school or doing activism work, how do you unwind?
I spend time with my beautiful family, my dad, mom, 3 siblings and two dogs. When I am not writing books, I write stories, essays, poems, speeches. I play the guitar.
Where can people follow you online?
You can follow me on @staceyfru on all social media platforms.