From mine to school

In Kipushi territory, 271 children left mining quarries and went back to school.

John Ngombua (translated from French by Sophie Bassi)
Kabedi, 12 ans.
UNICEF DRC Mulala
15 May 2021

Friday April 14, 2021 is a day forever etched in Kabedi's memory. After spending three long years working in an artisanal copper and cobalt mine, the 12-year-old girl has returned to school.

"When I was 9, I started working in the mine, after my father died to help my mother," Kabedi explains. From morning to night, seven days a week, Kabedi collected, crushed and transported copper and cobalt ores. At the end of the day, Kabedi came home exhausted, with an average of 5,000 Congolese francs in her pocket (approximately $ 2.5).

In addition to endangering their health, children working in mines are deprived of education and protection. Through the Fund for the Prevention of Child Labor in Mining Communities - a collaboration with the Global Battery Alliance (GBA), UNICEF aims to support the school reintegration of 500 children who have left mining careers in Kipushi territory.

Des sacs à dos sur une table
UNICEF DRC Mulala

Identified by social workers supported by UNICEF, these children are registered in the civil registry and placed in foster families when necessary. Children victims of violence receive psychosocial and medical support.

Reinstated in the sixth grade at Kipushi Primary School, Kabedi received a school kit, including all the materials she needs at school, as well as a school uniform. The young girl wants to make up for lost time in the mine and pursue studies in communication.

"I want to become a journalist in order to make the voice of Congolese children heard around the world," says Kabedi, more than determined to succeed. To contribute to the prevention of child labor, the socio-economic empowerment of girls and the reduction of gender-based violence are necessary to ensure a prosperous future generation.