12 June marks the World Day Against Child Labour. This year the day focuses not only on the need to end child labour, but also on the need to have safe and healthy workplaces for young workers. Erikzakeri's story illustrates why - he was lucky enough to survive when a pit collapsed on him when he was working in the gold mines. Now he is working on his future in a safe place. Terre des Hommes Netherlands is committed to help more children like Erikzakeri, to stop with child labour and develop safe and healthy alternatives for their future.

Child labour

Erikzakeri (17 years): "Every day when I step into this workshop, I feel proud and happy. This attachment helps me to gain work experience. Even though I am not yet a full-fledged mechanic, I already earn twice as much as in the mines. I am saving part of my earnings so that I can open my own workshop in a few years time."

I am saving to open my own workshop

(Erikzakeri, 17 years old, from Uganda)


Start at thirteen years

"When I was thirteen years old I started in the mines. I was in Primary 3 and needed money for school. First I started working underground. That went well for a year, until I got half buried under a collapsing mine shaft. I was lucky - only my hips were dislocated. But I will never forget and I will even tell it to my grandchildren.

Drop out of school

After my accident it seemed safer to work above ground, so I moved to gold sieving. However, the earnings were even lower - between 500 and 1,000 Ugandan shilling per day (€ 0.11 - € 0.23 a day). As a result, I had to drop out of school altogether. With pain in my heart, because I loved going to school.

Vocational training

That is why I desperately wanted to be selected for the vocational training. But the community representatives who had the final say, thought I was too young for boarding and initially said no. I cried and cried, until they allowed me to go. Someone who wants to be trained so badly, that has to be a success. Of course I will prove they made the right decision!"

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