POSTED June 12, 2018
How CCFC is making progress on ending child labour
How we helped two children leave a mining worksite and enter a classroom
By William Anim-Dankwa, communications manager, Ghana
The sound of pounding metal was ringing in the air just before midday on a hot October day in Ghana. As I drew closer to the mining site, the reverberations became more intense, almost welcoming me.
I could see women clutching what could have been 15-lb metallic pestles to pound rocks in a metal mortar. Among them were two children, Kwabena (above), 12, and Eddie, 14. They were all eking out a living for themselves.
Kwabena lost his father — also a miner — and his mom didn’t have work, she was sick and couldn’t afford clothes for Kwabena to go to school.
He told me that sometimes there was no breakfast, so he would pound rocks to powder in search of gold for $1.50 per kilo. Sometimes, he pounded twice a day — a difficult feat for adults — to earn $3 a day, but he would end up with blisters in his palms and pain in his body. Still, he sent the money home to his mother to help with the main meal of the day.
Meanwhile, Eddie’s mother was struggling to make a living, so she sent him to live with his grandmother, but the finances were tight there, too. Before long, he began what would become his regular three-kilometre walk to work at the mine.
Fortunately, for Kwabena and Eddie, we discovered their situation and enrolled them in school, providing school uniforms, shoes, learning materials, bicycles and small animals for their families to raise for income. Going to school will give them a better future.
Other children aren’t so lucky. The Ghana Statistical Service reports that more than 1.2-million children in the country are involved in dangerous work, and among 28.5 percent toil in child labour.
As we commemorate the International Day Against Child Labour, I pray many more children will be freed from child labour and equipped to go to school.
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