A child labourer working in the mines
Good morning ladies and gentlemen, my name is Grace Dalton and I am going to share my story with you today, in order for you to envision why the proposed changes to laws must be made.
The changes we are seeking include a minimum age of 20 for both men and women to begin work, safer working condition such as scaffolding, a way to get coal to the ground without harming anyone, a safer ladder or an ascending room (lift) We are also seeking rights for everyone who works in the mines such as freedom to choose that job, decent pay, holidays, days off and health and safety checks. I would now like to share my story with you, I ask you to keep an open mind and try to understand that this shouldn’t happen to anybody and the laws must change.
The place was dusty, the air smelled damp and dirty and I heard the mournful cries of the people in front and behind me. There was no light, the only thing I could see was the trail of ...view middle of the document...
It felt like it never ends, you can never quite become numb to the pain but it is a daily routine for us girls. My father and three brothers also worked in the mine, the same one I think. Their job was to cut the coal with big sharp tools that I had never been allowed to touch, I have never understood why I couldn’t work with my father and brothers. At least then I would have had the slightest bit of comfort, knowing someone was caring about me. One day we suddenly came to a halt in the trail, I nearly fell over from the abrupt stop. I knew what this meant, time to start climbing…
I wasn’t sure how long it took until it was my turn to climb, It felt like an eternity because the coal in the basket was tearing at my face and wearing away the skin, I regularly shook involuntarily from my nerves, there were often many stories I had heard and had even seen happen where people I had worked with had been hit by a falling coal, it was by far my worst nightmare. I began my uncertain journey up the ladder pushing that thought away from me. I had been climbing for a few minutes when I heard the cry for help, but I already knew as soon as I heard it, it would have been too late. I couldn’t bring myself to look down, physically, the basket wouldn’t allow it. Silent tears dripped down my face for the unknown owner of the cry.
I saw the faint light of sunlight from above me, it was a sign of hope that I would soon be free of that horrid basket. When we reached the top of the mine we were allowed to take the baskets off. My body flooded with relief as I turned around to help Clara with her basket. I called her name a few times to no avail. I didn’t want to imagine the possibility of her no longer being here and the idea that my worst nightmare was the cause of her death. I waited until nobody was left and I knew that that was the reality and was the day that changed my life forever.
This is the reason I am here today, Clara is the reason I am here today. I am trying to aid children and not have to put them through what I had to experience on a daily basis. This is not about me anymore nor Clara, this is about all the children that are, or will suffer through the pain I have lived through for years, Thank you for listening.