She explained that her parents were poor and lived in the village before she brought them to Freetown because she into some petty trading, which were not successful at all.
Alimatu prove fruitless, except for the stone mining which I am using to support my family and the education of junior siblings…I did volunteering nursing for three years and I sat and passed the nursing exam, unfortunately I have no one to support me, so I quit everything and focus on stone mining to support my family,” Kamara landed.
However Aminta’s fourteen years younger brother Ibrahim said that he owe his life to his sister, owing to the fact he has been wandering in their village as well as neighboring village without doing anything meaningful, had it not the timely intervention of her elder sister who transport him from the village to Freetown and enrolled me into schooling process, I would have been nothing but a looser. Therefore, I usually support my sister in the stone mining process, Ibrahim stated.
A socially deprived family who dwell along a quarry feed Stone mining is a common activity usually carried out in stony areas in Sierra Leone. Owing to the alarming rate of unemployment across the country children directly involve into the trade.
Unemployment has been a paramount concern as well as a challenge faced by subsequent and current governments in the country. As a result of this, parent usually engaged their children in stone mining as well as domestic activities as a means for their daily survival.
Another stone miner, Aminata Suma said that they encourage their children in the trade so that they can enhance their lunch as well as school. We don’t have option except we mine stone to survive she added.
Child miners and their parents across the country have similar stories. Most of the parent and child miners reached are saying the same thing, “we are poor, we are doing it because of hardship and ‘tranganess’, my children are supporting me because I can’t afford to pay their school fees and give them their daily lunch without their support, I am doing this in order to compliment the effort of my parent” almost all of the child miners reached are engaged in the act willingly to support their parent, even though I made them understand that such act is a violation to their basic human right.
Section 32 of the Child Rights Act, 2007 of Sierra Leone prohibits child labour and child mining is an abuse as well as child labour “Protection From Exploitative Labour 32 (1) No person shall subject a child to exploitative labour as defined in subsection (2). (2) Labour is exploitative of a child, if it deprives the child of its health, education or development”
A monitoring and evaluation officer at the National Commission for Children Alhaji Colleh Yillah explained that the commission has been on enormous sensitization as well as educating parents and guardians on the risk of children involved in this dangerous activity. He also mentioned that there are series of child labour and abuses in the country as most fisher men utilizes the effort of children to draw their fishing chains, pushing of boats and several fishing activities most children ended up with malaria and cold in the process. “ My Commission has already collaborated with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to sensitize parent about the hazardous in the direct involvement of children’s into mining and fishing, a situation he said will affect not only the children but also the country” He added that they have engaged and included community Chairmen and Chairladies from different areas in Freetown ranging from Grafton to Goderich community in the campaign to eliminate child labor especially in rocky areas and wharfs. “There are established disciplinary measures against parents using their kids as child laborers” Yilla landed.