Target: President of Tanzania Jakaya Kikwete
Goal: Enforce ban on child labor in Tanzania’s gold mines.
Thousands of children who are as young as eight years old are working in dangerous gold mines that put them in harm’s way despite child labor laws that should protect the youth of Tanzania.
According to a Human Rights Watch report, these children dig in deep pits for up to 24 hours a day. These pits are unstable and so children are at risk of the mines collapsing in on them. Throughout the day, children are exposed to mercury as well as dust that seeps into their lungs. They are often forced to carry heavy loads that are damaging to their small frames.
In the report, a 13-year-old boy explains that he digs for gold because he is hungry and needs the money. When a mine shaft collapsed, he sustained serious internal injuries as well as being knocked unconscious. He eventually returned to the mines because he was so desperate to feed himself that he was willing to risk his life for a second time.
Unfortunately, this child’s story is not an uncommon one. Many children work to support their struggling families. No child should risk their life to earn a living. Help give children a voice by calling on Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete to enforce child labor laws that could save thousands of lives.
Dear President Jakaya Kilwete,
While child labor laws in Tanzania theoretically protect children, little has been done to enforce them so that children are actually protected by the law.
It is in your best interest to enforce the laws that will protect the children of Tanzania. By protecting your nation’s children, you are protecting Tanzania’s future. Child labor affects school attendance and can even cause children to drop out of school early. Without an education, children will not be able to grow up to be productive members of society who can stimulate the economy.
I urge you to enforce these laws by making sure that labor inspectors are visiting licensed and unlicensed mines regularly to ensure that anyone under the age of 18 is not working. It is also critical that employers who violate these laws face economic penalties.
Children should not fear muscle pain, fatigue, and mercury poisoning that can have long term consequences. They deserve to be in school. Above all, children deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity and this can only come to be if you enforce child labor laws.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: southworld