George, a stone-breaking child with a broken future in Haut-Katanga

GUESTBLOGGERAt 10 years of age, George must break stones to support his family. Our guest blogger wondered about the problem of child labor in DRC and went to meet George: he shares his story with you.

George, a child facing heavy responsibilities

George, aged 10, resides in Mulao village located about 20 km from the town of Lubumbashi. He is the fourth in a family of 7 children, of whom only the elder has had the chance to study until sixth grade. Stone breaker since the age of 6 in the quarry at the entrance of the village, George had to stop his studies at first grade, 5 months after the start of the 2013 school year. His parents could not bear the school expenses: his father was unemployed and his mother was paralyzed from a disease, which prevented her from working in the fields.

From School to the Quarry: Child Labor in the DRC

Faced with this situation, George’s big brother proposed that both become stone breakers to help the family. George was compelled to agree to this idea: he became breaker of stones, among many other children of the village who faced similar situations.

What is he really doing in this quarry? Easy question for George but others do not know clearly why they are there “I wake up every day at 6 o’clock to walk for 15 minutes to get to my workplace where I spend all my day. I use the pickaxe, spade, hammer, and sieve to carry out my daily activities”.

George is a little boss for the other children of the quarry because they help him transport the bags of stones that he is responsible for breaking afterwards. The money earned helps to support the family including buying food and meeting other everyday needs.

George says that he is disappointed because he has no hope of realizing his ambitions since he abandoned the path to school. With a desperate air, he adds “I thought that one day I would become a doctor”.

A wish for his stone breaking peers

“Some parents are able to support their families but prefer to send their children to quarries, thinking that this is how they will improve the family income. They forget that they are sacrificing the future of their children. I invite these parents to think about the future and the interest of their children”

George insists that the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo should improve the social conditions of the population and especially support the creation of jobs so that child labor in the DRC ceases.

He adds that children must not yield to this pressure: this puts their future and their survival at risk. The best interest of each child must be guaranteed.

More info about child labour in DRC

Child labour in DRC: key figures

School vs. gold : my plea for education in Ituri

Pregnant women and children work in the mines near Kolwezi

Translated from French by Dorsaf James

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Roger Ngandu

Roger est un journaliste reporter qui s’intéresse aux questions des enfants. Il s’intéresse particulièrement à la problématique du travail des enfants dans les mines et carrières pour avoir vécu dans la province du Kasaï Orientale et celle du Haut Katanga. Il a fait de l'intérêt supérieur des enfants un principe de ses activités entant que journaliste, défendre la cause de l’enfant est sa lutte !

Roger is a journalist reporter who is interested in children's issues. He is particularly interested in the problem of child labor in mines and quarries since he lived in the province of Kasaï Orientale and that of Haut Katanga. He made the best interest of children a principle of his activities as a journalist, defending the cause of the child is his fight.

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