Digging for Survival: The Child Miners
While all forms of child labor are harmful to children, those who work in the mining sector are at particular risk. In mines and quarries throughout the world, children work in dangerous and dirty conditions that pose a serious risk to their health and well-being. What has always been a high-risk activity for adults puts children at even greater risk, exposing them to serious injury on a daily basis and possibly even death. In the absence of proper medical care, injuries and health problems sustained in the course of their work will have a lifelong effect.
Child labour is not confined to just a few countries or even one particular continent. It is worldwide. According to the most recent figures compiled by the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are more than 246 million child labourers between the ages of 5 and 17 in the world today. Over 100 million of these have no access to education of any kind. For most, getting time to play is a luxury they simply cannot afford.
Although there are millions of them all over the world, child labourers, by the very nature of their work, often go unnoticed. They cannot fight for their own rights and they do not have access to the media to tell their stories. When they do speak up, they are often simply ignored or punished. Because they are powerless, child labourers need others to advocate and campaign on their behalf. This process must begin with an awareness of the problem, an understanding of the issues involved and an empathy with those directly affected, the child labourers themselves.
This brochure is designed to form the basis for a short lesson to introduce the issues involved in child labour and in the particular sectors of mining and quarrying and then, through discussion and activities, explore ways in which they themselves can play their part in the international campaign to eliminate child labour.