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Dramatic conditions – The child laborers from the coal hell of Jharia

At 4 a.m. the shifts start for Gungun (4), Pari (6) and Seema (15) on the dusty coal heaps of Jharia (India).

With their raffia baskets and empty stomachs, the three sisters go out every day to work on the coal fields. This is the only way to ensure a warm meal a day for the children.

Dangerous child labor on the coal heaps

The air on the dump bites your lungs – it tastes of soot and sulfur. Flames lick from cracks in the floor. The three girls have to walk two kilometers to walk barefoot.

“We used to have shoes. But they broke on the coal dump. And we don’t have any money for new ones, ”says Seema. At the age of 15 she is responsible for the income of the family of twelve. Her father is too sick to work, her mother takes care of the little ones.

Seema’s feet are covered in scars. There is no medical care for the children.

Pari’s face is marked by life-threatening work. “Stones fall on us again and again and hurt us,” says the six-year-old.

Gungun coughs, “I always have a headache.” Black phlegm runs out of her nose.

The little ones die of lung diseases

Because of the high pollution levels, the coal heaps are considered one of the most hostile areas in the world. According to estimates, several thousand children are doing illegal child labor here for a daily wage equivalent to one euro. Exactly how many there are, nobody knows.

Many of them are just 25 years old. They die of tuberculosis or the lung disease COPD because the life-threatening dust destroys their lungs.

“A heart for children” gives the little ones hope

But there is a glimmer of hope for the children from coal hell: the Catholic aid organization Missio Aachen has sent an angel to the children with Sister Nivedita Bernadetta (62) from the Order of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart.

She provides children like Seema, Pari and Gungun with water, gives them love and encouragement. But that alone is not enough.

“I want to save the children. Take you away from poisonous hell. Bring them to where they can be children. Only when they get an education will they have a future. Then one day they will be able to lead a dignified life beyond the coal heaps, ”says the committed sister.

With the support of the BILD aid organization “Ein Herz für Kinder”, she is now building a school. So that children like Seema, Pari and Gungun no longer have to fill their bast baskets every day and they can exchange their black-colored life on the coal dump for a bright future.

Here’s how you can help!

BILD hilft eV “A Heart for Children” does everything in its power to reduce the plight of poor children around the world.

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