Investigation conducted by this paper has proven that children under eighteen are mostly seen helping their parents crushing rocks in the Rock Hill community of GSA in Paynesville.
Rock hill community is one of the major rock crushing areas in the GSA Road Community; where group of young children and parents were seen “crushing rocks” for survival. The GSA Road Community has four major rock crushing areas according to our investigation, namely Silver Spoon Community, Prolotori Community, Rock hill Community and Duaka community.
Several inhabitants, particularly young people and children of the rock hill community crowd the rock crushing areas as early as 8:00 A.M. every day for survival. A bucket filled with crushed marble rocks is sold for Twenty Five Liberian Dollar (L$25) while a bucket filled with crushed “old lady bursting rocks” is sold for Thirty Five Liberian Dollars (L$35) on the local market.
Several of the children, most of whom are unskilled, at the Rock Hill, told the New Dawn that they have made “rock crushing” the mean of assisting their parents to generate their school fees because their parents have tirelessly sought after employment in the government and private sector, but to no avail.
Although “rock crushing” is a tedious work, some folks, including madam Martha Garleyea a mother of four children, prefer doing the job for survival and the only mean of sending their kids to school. “I and my husband have no job, and so we were forced to find an alternative and the alternative is to crush rocks for us and our family to live,” she told the New Dawn.
“We usually sell six tire truck filled with rocks for ten thousand Liberian dollars. But for me, I will sell it four thousand Liberian dollars because my children have been out of school and they need to go back to school.” She added.
Trokon Bestman, 13, is a 3rd grade student, he told this paper that he and his father Joseph Bestman have been in the business since 2008. “I should have been out of high school, but things are not easy. I have to burst rocks and sell so that I can send myself to school because my Ma and Pa are not working to say they will send me to school, only this rock can help me now to finish my high school since I am in the 10th grade this year.” Samuel Kamara seventeen stated.
“Some of us didn’t have the needed support to finish school on time, but we still mean business. Now, I am an 11th Grade Student at the government owned Kendeja High School, but dropped due to lack of support. But I promise to finish high school in the end,” Korkulo said while crushing his rocks.
Residents in the area told the New Dawn that “rock crushing is a dangerous work because sometimes the rocks fall on people and make one to sustain injury. Some of the people finger no longer bends. If they are not careful, dropping particles will damage their eyes forever if they drop in the eyes.”
For 12-year-old girl Julia Moses, who was also seen crushing rocks in the area, explained that she usually goes there to help her mother crush rocks for living. Little Julia said that she is not in school because her parents cannot afford to send her to school. She said she is helping her mother to also find money for her to go to school.