Born and raised in Tatabe, Madagascar, Vony started working in the mica mines when she was a toddler. A look at the traces of metals on her hands, told a saddening story of the horrible situation she endured in the mica mines. Whereas most children her age would go to school, Vony would work in the mines everyday. Fortunately, she was identified and rescued. With our support, she is now attending school and she is even able to read and write.
As other children would wake up to prepare for school, Vony would wake up at sunrise, go to the kitchen to make a fire for her mother to make coffee or tea, then proceed to the mica mines. It was from these mines that the family sourced an income of 26 Euros per month. They had been in the mica mining business for 20 years, and children had to take part in mining activities to supplement their parents´ income. This was in addition to their income of 128 Euros, which they earned from farming rice and cassava.
Vony had worked in the mines since she was a toddler. Considering that there was no school around, she had no option but to follow her parents and siblings to the mica mines. Her daily visits to the mines made Vony a victim of child labour. Bearing the heavy and weary mining practice, the 9 year old girl would often fall sick. The traces of metals on her hands, as a result of lacking personal protective equipment, was evidence enough that the mica mines was and is a dangerous place for children. “In other villages, I saw children going to school and I wished that I was also going to school instead of working,” Vony sadly narrated her situation.
After what seemed to be the fate for her and her family, all was not lost for Vony. She was identified in January 2022 by our project partner, ALT, —whom we are working together with to eliminate child labour in Madagascar. With our support, she was enrolled in school on 16th May 2022. She was also provided with copybooks, pens, a slate to write on, chalks and meals. “I am happy to go to school and have lunch everyday,” Vony said happily. “The support given is important to me as it has changed my life for the better,” she added.
Life has changed for Vony. She no longer goes to the mines. Instead, she wakes up at 8:00 am, goes to school until noon, then takes her lunch at the canteen. When she gets home, she helps with light household chores such as washing the dishes and then goes to play —a right that every child must be accorded. Her regular school attendance has enabled her to read and write. Vony´s health has equally improved since she is not engaged at the mines any more. “I wish to become a doctor so that I can treat my family when they are sick,” Vony said, hoping for a better future.