Imagine this: It’s around 5 AM, and you are up and about, preparing for a long day of toil at the rough terrains of the Mica mines on the forest’s edge. Your hands are cut and bruised by the end of the day, but there is no time to ponder and pamper as these injuries are an everyday occurrence among mine workers. Everyone has learnt to live with it.
It may be challenging for one to envision, but this is the life of 12-year-old Rashmi and many others.
A HARSH PIECE OF REALITY:
India is the biggest exporter of Mica. Although Mica mining is illegal, it continues in Jharkhand. Families living on the fringes of the state, where there are no authorities to regulate the legalities, where a person’s health is subordinate to their daily earnings, rely on this dangerous endeavour to survive. Children, along with their parents, are forced to work in the mines doing all sorts of things like digging, cleaning, transportation and much more. Children fall into the vicious cycle of the ‘more money, more hands’ way of life in these rural areas. They are made to work in these high-risk mines starting from an extremely young age, making them forsake their education in the process. Education is never a priority, as their primary struggles are to meet ends. Eligible children are enrolled in the schools, but they hardly show up. According to a study conducted by CRY on Child Rights Situations in MICA belts of Jharkhand, 13% of the children missed out on schooling due to COVID-19. Before the pandemic, many frequented schools, but they fell out of touch with their studies and lost interest because of poor online class facilities. To garner interest in education is a vital task, which CRY, along with adolescent groups in some villages, is executing. These adolescent groups are made of individuals who strongly feel the need to bring about change. They are going door to door to reach out to the people of the villages. They are spreading awareness about the importance of getting vaccinated along with trying to eradicate deep-rooted false beliefs making lives difficult for the girl child.
CRY and its partners are working to bring about a semblance of normalcy in the region by trying to educate the kids, get rid of rampant social evils like child marriage, child labour and trafficking and also make the impoverished people aware of their entitlements from the government and their rights as individuals.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
We are the privileged many who have access to the resources needed to help these children. As they try to overcome their situational difficulties and CRY assists them to their level best, YOU can be of aid too. YOUR contribution will ensure that children have a chance at a brighter future and a scope to escape the horrors of the Mica mines. As it is not viable to remove the presence of Mica from our daily lives, this is the best route to help those who need it the most. No amount is too small and will make a big difference.