Smartphones & Children: Goodkarms Story of Flinty Maguire
Smartphones: Arguably the most revolutionary piece of innovative technology of this century.
It enables us to do a lot of things. We can call, message, play games and overall just communicate with someone from afar.
Everyone seems to have the latest in smartphones today. Over a billion smartphones are consumed at present time.
And with these mass production of smartphones, you need metals to manufacture them. Not everyone knows this, but a metal called cobalt is needed to create or manufacture a smartphone. In DR Congo, they use children to mine the metal. Mining the metal is not easy but using children to acquire the metal is just downright hurtful.
Good thing there are people in the world like Flinty Maguire. She and other volunteers created CobaltChildren.org in hopes to get the children out of the mining industry and to let them have convenient lives.
She first got the idea to help the “Cobalt Children” when she saw a documentary film about children mining cobalt in DR Congo. Here is an excerpt from an article in http://cobaltchildren.org:
“When I saw the Sky News film of Dorsen and Richard in February, I was distressed. I wanted to do something – not sure what – to help. I took their story personally. I have a smartphone, a camera, a laptop – I use lots of things with rechargeable batteries. Children had mined cobalt in the things I owned and that made me complicit… “Just a mention of the videographer, whose work was sensitive, poignant and profound. Alex Crawford’s report was succinct, moving and memorable. This meaningful report reached millions.”
“I decided to act. I threw together a website. I conferred and shared concerns with lots of people on Facebook, including Annemiek Macco, Alex Harris and Lisa Maheshi. I got some advice from Congolese journalist Serge Mabele. I called the website Children Play.og (children should play, not work). Serge said the website name was wrong. Annemiek suggested something specific – Cobalt Children. Much better! I changed the name: www.cobaltchildren.org. Searching Facebook, I came across Ian Harvey, director of the Congolese children’s charity, Kimbilio. What luck! I wrote to cobalt, smartphone and car corporates asking for help. NO LUCK THERE. (Do all corporates suck? I ask myself daily.) In desperation, I wrote an email to the Sky News planning desk and was lucky again – it was read by someone prepared to send it on to Nick Ludlam, Africa Editor, who works alongside Alex Crawford Sky News. Nick cared enough to contact Ian and me to discuss the possibilities of trying to relocate Richard and Dorsen. I threw a pebble in the pond and saw the ripples spread. Throw pebbles! You just don’t know what it will lead to – and in this case, it is something good. Thank you, Nick Ludlam for getting in touch with us. Thank you, Alex Crawford and her team, for going back to #DR Congo. Thank you, Ian Harvey for being on this earth. Thank you, Alex, Annemiek, Lisa and so many others for being friends and colleagues in this quest.
Two little boys now eat every day and sleep in a bed. They are learning to read and write, wear clean clothes and play like children. Their story will also help other children.”
She also sent letters to the CEOs of the top companies in the smartphone industry. She’s either been brushed off or had been ignored.
Aside from Dorsen and Richard, there a lot more children that need help and support. Flinty encourages donations and the buying of their lovely handmade products. Proceeds of the products will go to Kimbilio, a Congolese children’s charity, where Dorsen and Richard live. They are now friends with children from Badger Hill and St. Peters Primary School. Both are now students and are very happy with their lives. All thanks to Flinty and CobaltChildren.org.