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Child Labour - robbing our children of their future

Andrew is a ten-year-old boy who lives with his father and siblings in Hastings, one of the construction and quarry areas in the Western Urban area of Freetown. Living in these surrounding exposes one to hazards and other health-related issues. However, Andrew's family has managed to live their lives and work on the quarry as a way of life.

His family made a living out of rock crushing before he was born and is their source of livelihood. Andrew, as a child has to work each day, crushing rocks with his father to help provide for the family.

He has never been to school as it is; his father won't allow him because he has to help the family earn a living. Andrew would love to go to school more than anything else. He dreams about the opportunity to experience a school building and read books.

Hastings quarry is full of child labourers. Some attend schools but have to help their families crush rocks to earn money to support their school and family needs.

Children in Sierra Leone engage in the worst forms of child labour, including working in the mining sector, a hotbed for child trafficking. The earnings from stone quarrying are barely sufficient to support the family; hence it's difficult for these children to stop working there.

Hazardous Child labour is the largest category of the worst forms of child labour. International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates some 22,000 children are killed globally at work each year. Children are more vulnerable to workplace hazards than adults because their bodies and minds are still developing. Hence the results of working in a hazardous workplace are often more destructive and enduring on them.

Ten years old Andrew is just one of the many victims of Child labour in Sierra Leone.

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