Child Labour

By Timothy Ivusah

I stumbled upon children aged approximately between 10-15 years busy doing stone quarrying on one of my many walks around Kware area.The first thought that came to my mind was that it was okay for them to work as of now since they were not that busy with school work and to ease off their boredom and earn a little to aid around with the house expenses.But then again as I delved deeper into this quarrying area, so did the dangers became live to me. Most of them were not using protective gear and the right equipment required.These were just minors and involving them in this hard labour was just against their constitutional rights. 

Mining has its own effects,both positive and negative.The negatives are more.Apart from it providing materials for construction and building and also being a source of employment for many,it plays a part in environmental pollution ,loss of biodiversity,sinkholes, contamination and alteration of streams and wetlands.It also leaves the lives of those mining at risk.

I singled out one of the children and decided to talk to her.It was however difficult to convince her since she risked a beating from her mother.Later on, I came to understand why she was doing this.There were six of them at home,two boys and four girls, living in a single room with their folks. All of them were expected to cater for their personal needs apart from feeding. The girls were mainly in trouble since they were in constant need of sanitary towels for their reproductive health. There wasn’t any chance that one could avoid going to work for the excuse of being underage.

This got me looking at the universe differently. While other privileged kids were out there playing and enjoying their childhood, here she was being forced to work for a living under harsh conditions. It reminded me of the slavery times since the problem was unequal distribution of resources.Some have more than what they require while others have less than what they need.This takes me back to article 43 of the constitution of Kenya which tackles economic and social rights and clearly states ‘every citizen has the right to accesible and adequate housing,adequate food of acceptible quality'(food stamps).

On a wider perspective, this is not only happening in Kayole but also other different parts within the state.What i would like to urge the miners is to always ensure they have protective gear whenever they are in the field,and also the government to chip in and provide the right equipment or better yet, an alternative means for earning.


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