European Union External Action

Cameroon: child gold miners sacrifice education for survival

04/06/2021 - 09:41
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At least 1 million children aged 5-17 work in gold mines around the world, according to the International Labour Organisation.

gold miner cameroon


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.


Two child miners' accounts of their experience in Yassa, Cameroon

child miners, child labour

"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.


child miners, child labour

"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.