Programs

Stop child labour in Mica mines

Mica is a raw material widely used in makeup, cars and equipment. It shines beautifully and conducts electricity well. Most mica comes from India, where many children work in illegal mines. The children are poorly paid. The work is dangerous and unhealthy. They rarely still go to school. We take a stand against the exploitation of children in mica mines. We provide children information, education, help for their communities to improve incomes and, through that, a path to the future. We also take political actions. We lobby for governments to devise better laws, regulations and support for the children, their families and communities. Join our fight. Stop child labor in mica mines.

Elisa Wubs

Mica Programme Coordinator

Child labour perpetuates poverty and denies children a childhood and a future. Small hands can hold a pen better than a pickaxe. End child labour!
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So makeup can sparkle and phones can glisten, children are forced to work in India’s mica mines.

In India, tens of thousands of children work alongside their parents in mica mines. They work long days, get little money and rarely go to school. The work is heavy, unhealthy and dangerous.

Mica is used in luxury items, such as makeup, phones and cars. It makes objects shiny. It also conducts electricity well. Over a quarter of the world’s mica comes from the Indian regions of Jharkhand and Bihar. A few legal mines exist, but most are mined illegally, often by children under age 14. Their parents live in poverty and need the money to make ends meet.

Dust released from chipping mica damages the lungs. Accidents are common. Debris flies around. The children often have little or no protection.

Illegal traders buy the mica and sell it to factories, which pay poorly. These working children do not go to school. This keeps them living in poverty, with no prospect for bettering their circumstances.

We fight against child labour in mica mines. We educate children, families and communities about its dangers and children’s rights. This equips them to make better deals with traders. We help these children stand up for their rights to education and safety. And we call on the Indian government to devise better laws – and to enforce them. 

We remind companies that use mica of their responsibility not to exploit children in their goods production.

We also call on the Dutch government to do more against child labour in mica mines. Join our fight. Stop the exploitation of children in India’s mica mines.

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Goals

We fight child labour in India’s mica mines so children can attend school and build for a better future. Our goals are:

Back in school

Stop exploitation

Build better lives

Enforce laws

Lobby the Dutch government

Approach

We fight hard for children and their families working in India’s mica mines, especially in the eastern regions of Jharkhand and Bihar. Together with our local partners, we make villages child-friendly. We offer children better protection and help them return to school. Currently, we count some 60 child-friendly communities. 

We educate children, their parents and communities about their rights. We inform them of the risks of working in mica mines. This way they can better stand up for themselves and avoid exploitation. 

We also help communities cooperate more. This way they can get better deals with traders concerning workers’ safety, payment and education.

We help families cope with income losses after their children return to school and no longer do dangerous, poorly paid work to earn money. We inform parents about options for government support, such as the benefits and subsidies to which they are entitled.

We do awareness-raising among companies that use mica and remind them of their responsibilities not to exploit children in their goods production. 

We lobby the Dutch government to encourage better abidance  between companies that use mica and to urge other countries to stop child labour. 

We are also working towards a statutory requirement to make companies guarantee that no illegal child labour in mica mines was used in their goods production. 

Last but not least, we lobby for the Indian government to regulate illegal mica mines. We urge them to make school mandatory and cost-free for children between ages six and 14. And we urge them to help communities progress by finding other sources of incomes.

Join our fight. Stop child labour in India’s mica mines. 

Our approach is working

We have worked hard for more protection for the children in the Mica Mines. It is nice to see that our approach is paying off in India. The results are promising.

Child-friendly communities

Better united

Other sources of income

Help regulate production

Banned illegal child labour in 22 communities

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