PC convict’s “convicted child” … (report)

AA / Ouagadougou / Dramane Traoré

With a hammer in her hard hand, wearing a black T-shirt, young Drissa Ouedraogo tries to smash large stone blocks into a few pieces under a small makeshift shed made of worn-out cloth and blankets. Among the hundreds of people, we see teenagers with burdens on their heads. We are at the PC Granite Quarry on the western outskirts of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, where children “partner” with their parents in search of food.

“I’m here to help my grandmother grind rocks. Thanks for the activity that feeds our family,” said Drissa Vedraogo, a young man between the ages of 12 and 13. “I didn’t go to school,” he said, adding that he had been his parents’ “partner” for several years.

“We’re here to buy crushed granite from women and children, which we resell. Women and children also pay people who dig holes out of holes and bring them out,” explains Robert Wadraogo, who is delighted to serve. As a guide to the scene.

“People complain that kids work here. For us, they live with their parents. They help their parents find something to eat. It’s better than stealing,” he said in broken French.

He admits that some children work in difficult situations on the site. “There are well-wishers who come here with protective equipment. But for a while, we don’t see them anymore. Sometimes children get injured. With Hammer but we have no choice, ”he said.

There are girls among the children encountered on the site. Their job most of the time is to transport rock blocks from the inside of the hole to the surface. An obstacle course, according to young Rukita Sawadogo, who further stated that she was “with” her mother at the site.

– “Wild Mining Site”

According to the NGO, open-air stone miners in Ouagadougou district earn about 4,000 lives a day, including men, women and children.

“I’ve been working here for over 5 years. My daughter is with me. She’s 15 and we work together. We need enough equipment to make our job easier,” Rukita’s mother told us today. About 50 years old.

PC Query is one of the “traditional artisan” mining sites whose work resources and methods justify calling them “wild mining sites”, explains a study entitled “Child Labor and the Right to Education in Burkina Faso: Example PC Career”, 2011 Sociologist Published by Josephine Wango.

According to sociologists, this profession has existed since colonial times and the strategy has not changed. There are four categories of workers: granite block “splitter” (adult male), “crusher” (female), intermediary (adult male in charge of resale finished goods) and children mainly “crusher”. Or street vendor.

“The work here is done on a little chain. Everyone has a very specific role. Children in particular find themselves in crushing and resale chains,” confirmed truck driver Usman Nana. He is responsible for delivering orders to customers who come to buy granite.

Customers, among others, contractors and individuals working in the building sector, because crushed granite is used to make concrete, Nana explained.

Granite blocks are crushed during crushing. “That’s why the task is so difficult,” Arnaud Cabore, another 15-year-old, told us.

Most of the children encountered during the two visits by the Anadolu Agency to the site are those who work alongside their parents.

Listening to parents and children, “it turns out that there are a number of jobs in child labor in a career,” said rational sociologist Josephine Wango in her research.

“It is primarily associated with the economic situation of the family which forces the child’s participation in the family income. Children work in support of parents to increase their income, although their contribution is often minimal,” he said.

– “Slave-like” working conditions

The comment, backed by Mariam Sawadogo, is the mother of a rookie who believes it is a way to “grab” children and involve them in the search for sustenance.

According to sociologist Wango, children and adolescents also come to the site to “earn their money” because they can’t find other paid jobs.

For Omaru Ilbaudo (CCEB-BF), a consultant with the Framework for Consultation for the Advocacy of Associations and NGOs active in basic education in Burkina-Faso, the working conditions of children on the site, regardless of their nature, are “like slavery”.

“The children at the site work 8 to 10 hours a day. Their job is digging, crushing, washing, transporting ore, without any protection,” he explained in an interview with Anadolu Agency.

“These efforts beyond their means have a negative impact on their health, their growth and their education. According to a survey by the Institute of National Statistics and Demography INSD, more than 700,000 children have been recorded at the gold panning site (industrial gold mining).” Remember. .

CCEB-BF, which currently has 200 member associations and NGOs, works primarily to influence education policy, and therefore conducts research / action activities to identify deficiencies in the education sector to propose solutions.

Returning to the causes of child labor, Ilbudo considers it a multidimensional phenomenon based not only on socio-cultural values ​​and limitations related to children’s education, but also on family poverty in both rural and urban contexts in the context of the global economic situation.

Burkina Faso, like many other countries, is celebrating World Day Against Child Labor on June 12, 2022 in Ouagadougou under the theme “Universal Social Security to End Child Labor”.

The government wrote in a statement, “The purpose of this day’s celebration is to draw attention to the urgent need to redefine new lines, taking into account the scale of child labor and the new context for the elimination of child labor.”

In a statement issued this Sunday, Labor Minister Bassolma Baji warned that in Burkina Faso, the child labor situation could “further deteriorate due to the security crisis that has displaced an estimated 1,850,293 internally as of March 31, 2022; Rate of children aged 44.02% “
Bazié explained that the absence or closure of children from school automatically exposes them to the worst of labor or increases their vulnerability to primary work, which could have a detrimental effect on their recruitment.
“Household poverty, as a result of loss of population property in areas affected by terrorism, deprives children of their basic needs, especially the right to nutrition, health, housing and education,” he added, adding that “the state The issues are not irreversible if we adopt a holistic approach that attacks the root causes of the incident while protecting children at risk through directed action.

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