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Children at work and play in a Filipino charcoal factory

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Today, a brief glimpse at life inside a charcoal factory in a slum outside of Manila. Families, including young children, work in these factories making charcoal or scavenging in dumpsters for food and other supplies. The area is called Ulingan, the literal translation being “place where charcoal is made”.

Photographer Mio Cade captured this moment in March 2010 of a little girl playing with a makeshift hula hoop.

Credit: Mio Cade

From Mio’s description of the photograph on Flickr:

I could not remember this little girl name. But she was very curious of my camera. She requested me to take a photo of her playing the hula hoop. She was so happy to be photographed and kept asking for more photos.. Kuya, photo me, kuya photo me. I remember her sweet voices.

At the end I hugged her and swing her around like a hula hoop. She was overjoyed. To me she was a little princess. She was so adorable.

And another:

Credit: Mio Cade

A reminder for those of us in the United States celebrating Labor Day of the labor challenges that exist elsewhere in the world, many of them involving dirty energy sources.

Thanks to Mio Cade for letting me share his photos here.

David Wogan About the Author: An engineer and policy researcher who writes about energy, technology, and policy - and everything in between. Based in Austin, Texas. Comments? david.m.wogan@gmail.com Follow on Twitter @davidwogan.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. Mind Greave 5:24 pm 09/2/2013

    I wonder how much money the mining companies save on tunneling, when you only need a hole in the ground half the size of a man? Not that I endorse this kind of child labor.

    Link to this
  2. 2. marclevesque 7:25 pm 09/3/2013

    Room for thought.

    I’m enjoying your recent articles.

    Link to this

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