PHOTOGRAPHY BY: MATJAZ KRIVIC
They can’t read, they can’t write but they can dig. At the crack of dawn children of Burkina Faso one of the world’s poorest countries work alongside their parents slaving in the mines for fourteen hours a day. The mines crumble and their lungs fill with dust as they dig deeper into the ground each day in hopes of finding enough gold to feed their families. These workers are only paid when they find gold and this can sometimes take weeks. Meanwhile in the western world we don’t even realize the back breaking work that is required for the small amount of gold it takes to manufacture a single smart phone.
Children of Burkina Faso work alongside their parents slaving in the mines for fourteen hours a day. They dig deeper into the ground each day in hopes to find enough gold to feed their families.
These workers are only paid when they find gold and this can sometimes take weeks.
These children start in the mines at a young age, they don’t go to school, or know of a life outside of the mines they call home. They work day in and day out 50 metres under the ground in dark unstable conditions with only a faint headlight to guide them through their day. They dig by hand and struggle to find foot holes and hand holes as they climb up and down the pits.
These children don’t go to school, or know of a life outside of the mines they call home.
The environment of the mines poses instant health risks as well as long term ones due to the exposure to toxic chemicals, dust, heavy materials and to top it off incredibly strenuous labour. As a result, The International Labour Organization calls mining one of the most detrimental forms of child labour.
In the meantime, on the other side of the world, the gold that they mine is a part of our everyday lives in things such as our phones and electronics. As they break their backs in labour we can’t wait to get our hands on the next iPhone. We don’t realize or acknowledge the hard work and suffering that goes into finding even the smallest amount of gold. It’s essential that we don’t overlook the truth behind the things we take for granted on a daily basis, but rather open our eyes to the truth and learn about where our products come from.