Report by PKPA-Nias, 9 Feb 2012
Children working in stone and sand mining in rivers, beaches and hills are common practice in Nias Island. These hereditary works usually involve not only school dropouts but also children who still attend school. Children usually start collecting these building materials at the age of six years. Children who are school dropouts work every day from morning to evening while those who still attend school usually work from 2-6 p.m. every day. These types of work, of course, may endanger their lives and are very harmful to their growth and development. Following are stories of child labors in stone and sand mining:
a.Firman Jaya Zendrato (10 years)
Firman is the fourth son of eight children. Most of them are elementary school graduates and only one of them is a junior high school graduate. Currently, the boy is at the fourth grade of elementary school. After school, he has to work to help his parents. He usually works from 2-6 p.m to collect stones from a river. However, he sometimes works as a building construction worker with main task is to transport sand. His six brothers and sisters who are between the ages of 6 to 14 years also work to collect stone in the river. They do not receive money from their work but their parents do to meet their daily needs and pay school expenses. The young boy does not have any choice but follow his father command although the work is exhausting. He and his family live in Muzoi Village, the Sub District of Lotu, the District of North Nias. They live in a small house located in a rubber plantation owned by other people. They live there because his parents have been asked to keep and take care of it.
b.Pian Zega (13 years)
Pian is one of victims of the deadly earthquake that hit Nias in 2005. He got a severe injury on his head due to the natural disaster. Currently, he is at the sixth grade of elementary school. However, he cannot study well because he has to work as a stone miner. He also had ever dropped out of school for one year because he had to follow his parents working in a palm oil plantation outside Nias Island. Since his parents cannot afford to send him to school, his uncle helps them send him to school. However, the young boy has to collect stones from hills for him in return. He does not receive money from his work but his uncle does to meet his daily needs and pay his tuition.
Situation of child labor, especially in its worst forms, in Nias Island is very complex. Almost all villages in the island are facing the issue of child labor, especially child labor in sand and stone mining, rubber plantation and fishing sector. Strategies for child labor elimination in Nias Island include child labor prevention, withdrawal and empowerment. Campaign for the elimination of child labor in Nias Island has been launched since 2008. PKPA, with support from KNH and involvement of ILO-IPEC, has started campaign for child labor elimination by conducting research on child labors. The research findings have been widely disseminated and are used as recommendations for local governments in Nias Island to make policy on the prevention and elimination of child exploitation.
Stop Child Labour...............Now