The Agony and Despair of Children Mining
By W.C.

July 18, 2006
Can you imagine waking up every morning not knowing if it would be your last? Imagine working at an excruciating, hazardous, perpetual job being paid little to nothing. Imagine being brought up to believe that mining is what children are meant to do. Well, this is an everyday reality to many of the young children living in Sierra Leone. This has been a problem for a very long time. In my opinion, this is an issue to pay strict attention to, but according to the government of many countries, this is just another issue to brush aside and pay no attention to. Once people can imagine how hard these children work by risking their lives, only then can people realize the severity of this situation. This problem had occurred during the 10-year civil war that Sierra Leone had, where they used children as fighters and laborers in the mines of Koidu. The war has ended, but government’s efforts to remove children from the mines are not progressing well.
Unfortunately, more children are wandering into the mines so it is difficult to come up with an exact number to how many children are in these mines. Some children who are aged as little as seven wander into these mines as well. From my point of view, it is mind-boggling to let a very young child be exploited to such an environment. It is unbelievable to imagine a child that young to start such work. I am often guilty of complaining about chores I have to complete around the household but comparing my chores to what children even younger than myself have to do in the mines of Koidu, has brought me to a state of appreciation of my fortunate life and has given me a more awakened mind to what life is to these children in Sierra Leone. Children aged seven to sixteen complete work from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. That time is spent digging through soil and gravel and moving heavy mud, which contains diamonds. Another problem, which really bothers me, is that the children who work at the mines are convinced that mining is what they were meant to do. A child named Abou Bangura did not want to consider going to school because he only believes in working in the mines. This is a frightening thought because without an education, that child will continue to work in the mines and won’t be able to strive for a better life. All of these issues have given me a broader understanding to the difficulties that these children face in the mines at a regular basis. Helping with this situation can be spreading awareness, which can make a world of a difference.


Source:
Fofana, Lansana. "Children Working in Sierra Leone Mines." 28 Aug. 2003.


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