Just over a year ago I was working as a social worker in a remote town in the Northern Cape, Prieska and noticed that many of my clients were involved in artisanal mining for tiger’s eye. One client who was referred to me was 16 years old and completely deaf. His mum was at her wits-end trying to care for him and none of the local schools could offer him appropriate education.
Being poor and deaf in this part of the world can be very isolating. I referred him to the local Pastor, who knew sign language and also to an auxiliary social worker in de Aar, some 180 km south who worked for DEAFSA.
We also worked with his mum and sorted out some state benefits for him.
Some weeks later I met him again with a group of men on their way “to the mountains” to dig for tiger’s eye! Hey at least he had some work and a group of fellows to identify with!
It’s what people do here when they need some extra cash.
The problem is, they get ripped-off. Help this young man and the many artisanal miners in similar situations at least earn a decent living from their work.