AFRICA/SIERRA LEONE - More than 3,000 children forced to work in caves to pay for college and help families

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Freetown (Agenzia Fides) - Thousands of children in Sierra Leone are forced to break rocks with a hammer to pay for their studies and to help their families make ends meet. It is the sad reality, quite usual in the country that many children live and are engaged for hours in this hard work every day and risk accidents and injuries. In Sierra Leone, education and child labor are often closely linked, and the school is yet another economic challenge. Although basic schools are free, families must provide for the purchase of uniforms, books, pens, pay transportation and sometimes must also contribute to the teachers salaries. Therefore, to be able to send their children to school, many parents are forced to send them even to work. In 2007, thanks to a private initiative, a school in the village of Adonkia was founded, completely free, a few kilometers away from the capital Freetown, with the aim of bringing the children out of the cave. Currently 380 students, all working children, and it is estimated that across the country there are more than 3000. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 20/03/2013)