Exploration of the Child Domestic Workers’ Lived Experiences in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania




lived experiences, child domestic workers, domestic work


This qualitative study, based on a phenomenological design, explored the lived experiences of child domestic workers aged 15 to 18 years in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Children in this age group are above the national and international legal minimum age for admission into light work. The findings of our study indicated that although domestic work is perceived by the child domestic workers as a method for impoverished children between the ages of 15 and 18 to earn money, get experience, and learn new life skills, it also entails loneliness, challenges in assimilating into an unfamiliar social context, and child sexual exploitation and abuse. Also, a significant number of CDWs originate from low-income, rural households, with financial poverty, children’s idleness after completion of primary school, and a desire for income serving as important antecedents for their entry into domestic work. The process of social construction of the concepts "a child" and "childhood" includes the idea of typification. Hence, in the Tanzanian socio-cultural atmosphere, domestic work for underprivileged youngsters may be a better alternative for survival than opting for other options like commercial sex work, remaining idle in financially precarious homes, working and living on the streets, and "panya road" (children's criminal gangs). In addition to addressing poverty, ensuring light (domestic work) for children under 18 years, and acknowledging that childhood and its roles differ depending on the sociocultural atmosphere, researchers and policymakers should pay attention to these children's best interests, socio-cultural realities, and their perspectives and worries regarding this phenomenon in a quest to developing research-driven interventions and policies.


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How to Cite

Exploration of the Child Domestic Workers’ Lived Experiences in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania . (2023). Tanzania Journal of Sociology, 9(1), 51 - 80. https://doi.org/10.56279/tajoso.v9i1.120