Tag Archives: International Workers’ Day

May 1 2009

Breaking rocks for a living

Today, much of the international community is celebrating Labor Day, also known as International Workers’ Day. Labor Day recognizes the social and economic achievements of laborers. Though much has been accomplished for workers, including safer working conditions and representation through labor unions, workers like those in Tanzanian rock quarries still labor under very difficult conditions.

Mary Dawn Reavey, the Dar es Salaam project coordinator in Tanzania, gives us a look at the working conditions of people who break rocks for a living.

Story by Reavey, and video by Freddie (sponsored) and Emma (formerly sponsored).

Freddie, Emma and I interviewed and filmed some guardians of sponsored children who break rocks for a living. Because many parents die from AIDS, their children are often raised by guardians such as uncles, aunts, brothers or sisters.

At a quarry outside Dar es Salaam, workers break rocks near the road to be more accessible to potential customers. To protect them from the blazing sun, the workers construct a covering with sticks and old flour sacks.

They pound rocks for at least eight hours a day, starting around 6 a.m. to avoid the intense midday heat. CFCA is helping many of these guardians start small businesses, allowing them to significantly reduce the time they spend breaking stones, or stop altogether.
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