Minors in the quarry
With little hope for a better future, children are doing hard labour to provide income for their struggling families, while organisations call for increased access to education and protection
Every day Myat Phyu walks to work and back. “It is very near so I can walk, it is only one hour,” she says while drops of sweat roll down her forehead. The walk is the least strenuous part of her day. For 2,000 kyat a day, about 67 baht, she works in a quarry in Myanmar’s Mon state. Her job is to hack large stones into smaller ones, then load them into a bucket before throwing them onto a large pile which will be sold.
Victim of poverty: A 13-year-old girl works at a quarry to help her family meet their basic living costs. photo : Thet Oo Maung
Myat Phyu — not her real name — works in the quarry seven days a week from 7am to 4pm, resting only during a two-hour lunch break. She is 16 years old and, even though she has reached the legal working age, the work is heavy and dangerous for the health and development of a child. There are five more girls around the same age working in the quarry. A 13-year-old boy, the only child worker there still attending school, is earning some extra money for his family during the school holidays.
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