Gugulethu Mnkandhla, WODAZ. 31 May 2018

Informal small scale mining a lifeline for school dropouts

With the increasing rate of unemployment in Zimbabwe, families have to depend on the informal sector to eke a living. Unemployment of adult breadwinners has had perverse effects on school attendance as children have to quit school.

A 16 year old male in Gwanda has taken the responsibility of becoming the breadwinner for his family and drop out of school because his grandmother and uncle could not afford paying his fees. The Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) he had relied on to cater for his school expenses did not offer a solution as he occasionally faced humiliation of failing to pay his school fees on time. School fees arrears led him to drop out of school and get into the mining to make a living. The government’s failure to adequately fund the social services ministry continues to worsen the plight of orphaned and vulnerable children.
Due to disrupted employment opportunities, informal small scale mining is the only avenue he could take to sustain himself, his grandmother and uncle. Despite the risks he is subjecting himself to, he is willing to do whatever it takes to put food on the table. The little that he makes affords him access to basic commodities.