In eastern Cameroon, thousands of children risk their health at makeshift mines. Thanks to the EU-supported project Promess2 in Cameroon, 32 ‘Comité de veille citoyenne’ were set up to raise awareness in communities on illegal mining and child labour. As a result, parents took the initiative to set up 4 schools to ensure their children could have an education. Up to 265 students received basic education instead of working in mines. France 24 tells the story.
"Since I was five, I have been digging gold in the Yassa mine with my parents. My parents and I were made aware of the importance of school for a long time. Since I went back to school, I have good grades, especially in science, dictation and mathematics. Today, I try to convince my friends who are still in the camps to come to school, especially to avoid death in the mining holes. I tell them that with school, they will have the opportunity to learn new things that will allow them to become a doctor, a teacher and even sell gold at good prices without being cheated by gold buyers."
- Marceline, 10 ans, Yassa, Cameroon.
"Before, I had never known the road to school. After these sensitisations, I kept asking my parents to send me to school because I also wanted to find out. Finally, in November 2020 they agreed. I really like the science and French classes, and I get very good grades. Today, thanks to the school, I can already express myself better in French. In the future, I would like to work in the army or in the government. I still have a lot of friends in the mining camps. Every time we play, I keep reminding them that in gold mining, they can die from rockslides and even from mercury. I hope that next year they will be able to understand and follow me. Thanks again to FODER and the European Union."
- Pierre, 12 ans, Yassa, Cameroon.