The Gold Drop Outs of Uganda

Newly Discovered Gold In Uganda Prompts Gold Rush Among Unlikely Demographic.

Children are dropping out of school to work in the gold mining industry of the Namayingo district of Uganda.

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A 21st Century Gold Rush

Gold was discovered in the Namayingo district of eastern Uganda in 2012. Since then, the region has attracted immigrants seeking to make their gold fortunes, or at least a living, in the nascent gold mining or attendant industries.

The Namayingo district now resembles a 19th century U.S. gold mining boom area with tens of thousands of newly arrived gold mining hopefuls and gold traders as well as makeshift services providers of mining equipment, ore grinders, gold processors, food and water vendors and prostitites all plying their wares to the growing population of the area.

See the Obama Construction water tank set up in Uganda’s newly discovered gold region.

According to an AP report, small mining operations can turn a sizeable profit and even day labourers working the the Namayingo district can pull in about $6 a day which is significant in a country where the average daily earnings are about three times less.

uganda map of gold

Migrants have flooded into the Namayingo district in search of their gold fortunes.

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The Darker Side of the Ugandan Gold Rush

Education Takes a Back Seat to Gold

As gold has become the focus of the region, it has attracted another, unlikely demographic – children. Like the subsistence gold panners of Brazil’s flood devastated Minas Gerais region, gold mining has become a necessity for many in Uganda, including its children. According to a Ugandan report at least of 25% of children of the Namayingo district have left school to work in the burgeoning gold mining and attendant industries.

Half the population of Uganda is under 14 years old. A good number of them are now abandoning education out of necessity for short term gain or sustenance.

Gold Comes to the Collapse

The children of the Namayingo district working in the gold industry are not ‘trying to preserve their wealth in the event of a collapse‘. They are seeking out gold and earning their daily bread by working for it in a country where the median income is just $600 a year. Indeed, for the children of Uganda, their living conditions reflect what many westerners may think of when they envision a societal or economic collapse.

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