Cobalt Children of DR Congo
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Mr. Yang Yuanqing, CEO of Lenovo: Will you help these cobalt children, please? Children like Dorsen have helped companies make lots of profit. Dorsen works 12 hours a day for as little as 8p or 10̔¢. This is slave labour and a human rights abuse. Your help would be appreciated. Your company would be lauded.
Yang Yuanqing, CEO of Lenovo
Will Yang Yuanqing, CEO of Lenovo help #Dorsen and the Congolese cobalt children?

Image credit:

Added: 6 April 2017
Date our letter was posted : 4 April, 2017

Our letter was posted : 4 April, 2017
Follow-up email #1 sent via online form 18 April 2017
Automated response to follow-up email #1 received: 18 April 2017
Response from Lenovo: 10 May 2017. Standard reply. No offer of help
Our follow-up email to

The Sky News story: "Three months on, we've tracked down Dorsen and Richard to see what's changed" has just aired on television when I receive Charlotte West's email. I know it's going to be another unimaginative, disappointing, standard, politically correct response - so I respond before reading it!

From: Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children []
Sent: 10 May 2017 20:12
To: 'Charlotte West' <>
Subject: RE: FAO Mr. Yang Yuanqing, CEO Lenovo

Hi Charlotte.

I’ve received your email and attachment. Thank you. Did you see the follow up story on Sky News a few minutes ago? Sky responded to our plea to go back and find Dorsen and Richard. They are now safe in the care of a wonderful charity called Kimbilio in Lubumbashi. We have raised £877 for that charity, and the Good Shepherd Sisters in Kolwezi – but with no help at all from corporates. It would have been a brilliant opportunity for a corporate to step up and offer practical support – they could have been featured on the Sky News report. Instead, it’s consumers like me who are raising money to save these children who have already suffered so much.

The story is on Sky News website – an abridged version. The fathers of the boys (their mothers are dead) have had to give up their sons, which is heartbreaking, so that they can survive. They are working 12 hours a day, digging tunnels that collapse, to mine cobalt. They are not eating. It’s awful – and the chances are, the cobalt they do mine ends up in products we so value and are prepared to pay for.

I detest the way the corporates give politically correct and yet practically meaningless responses. I’m sorry – I haven’t read your attachment yet and I anticipate it is a standard brush-off. And still, these children suffer and their parents die. It’s awful. I am ashamed to be a consumer of all the technical products that are so valued in my household. We are technical people.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a corporate could set an example and do something helpful – provide money, support a charity, place adults in safe and fairly paid jobs? There is more to business than the shareholder and profit margin. 44 million people viewed the first Dorsen film and the vast majority of the responses were of disgust.

It’s time to make things better. I would pay more for my technology so that I could know that no children or adults were suffering to bring it to me. Why can’t corporates see that?

I’ll read  your attachment now!  Thank you.  I hope I’m not desperately disappointed.

All good wishes

From: Charlotte West []
Sent: 10 May 2017 19:48
To: Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children <>
Subject: RE: FAO Mr. Yang Yuanqing, CEO Lenovo

Hi Flinty – please find our response I the attached.

Then I read it - and sure, I'm right. These corporates just don't know how to be human or kind. They just want to protect themselves and their profit margins. Bah! I email Charlotte West again:

From: Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children []
Sent: 10 May 2017 20:16
To: 'Charlotte West' <>
Subject: RE: FAO Mr. Yang Yuanqing, CEO Lenovo

Hi Charlotte

Just read your attached letter. It’s what’s come to be known in this house as a “standard brush-off”.

Children can’t eat reports or PC statements.

Desperately disappointed.

Will blog about this.

All good wishes


From: Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children []
Sent: Sunday, May 7, 2017 5:19 PM
To: Charlotte West <>; Raymond Gorman <>; Angela Lee <>; Borja Velon Lepine <>
Cc:;;; Kimbilio Ian Harvey <>; 'catherinemutindi' <>
Subject: RE: FAO Mr. Yang Yuanqing, CEO Lenovo

Dear  Mr. Yang Yuanqing,

I wonder if you would be so kind as to clarify if you would support Dorsen and Richard, please? Or perhaps make any gesture of support to the cobalt child miners?

As yet, not one corporate has responded to our communication with an offer of help, or even a mention of the boys’ names. The Sky News report featuring Dorsen and Richard, child cobalt miners, has had over 44 million views. There is intense interest. The subject will be followed up.

Your early response would be appreciated. If you could offer some help, it would be so appreciated and recognized.

With hope and kindest regards,

Flinty Maguire

From: Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children []
Sent: 18 April 2017 13:49
To: '' <>; '' <>; '' <>; '' <>
Subject: FAO Mr. Yang Yuanqing, CEO Lenovo

Dear  Mr. Yang Yuanqing,

I posted a letter to you on the 4 April 2017. I attach it here again.

I wish to draw your attention to the Sky News report: “Inside the Congo mines that exploit children”.  The report deals with the mining of cobalt used in lithium ion batteries in profitable and widely used items such as smartphones and laptops.

The Sky News report features Dorsen, an 8 year old boy who mines cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He works 12 hours a day for as little as eight British pence. This Sky News report triggered the Cobalt Children campaign to ask companies, such as yours, to organize help for these children and creusseurs.

The Sky News report is posted on Facebook has had 43 million views and has been shared over 834,000 times. There are over 150,000 comments.  

Here is the link to the report:

I am sure you will agree that this overwhelming response from the general public to the issue of child labour in cobalt mines, and the exploited labour of creussers, warrants comment and action from your company.

I appreciate you need to consider your response which I look forward to receiving on or before 1st May, 2017.  From now, until that date, Dorsen may have worked 168 hours of hard labour mining cobalt, which may include being beaten, starved and injured. This child, and others like him, need our collective help and they need it soon. We cannot let this issue go on for more years. It shames us all.

Please respond by email to the address provided:

Your response will be shared on the website: and on social media. Be assured, I will help in any way I can to assist these children and creusseurs.  

Many thanks and kind regards,

Flinty Maguire

From: Charlotte West []
Sent: 18 April 2017 13:50
To: Flinty Maguire, Cobalt Children <>
Subject: Automatic reply: FAO Mr. Yang Yuanqing, CEO Lenovo

I am out of the office on holiday for Easter, returning to the office on Wednesday 19th April.  If you need to reach me urgently please text or WhatsApp me on +44 (0)7825 605720.


Our letter, posted 4 April 2017
No reponse yet...
No apathy

How to help #Dorsen and children like him
Did you know that people who take action are less likely to suffer from depression?

You could donate...
When children earn as little as 8p a day, every penny helps
Buy something from our shop: 100% goes to help Congolese children


No help offered from these companies: Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Daimler, Vodafone, Volkswagen, Lenovo. They gave standard "brush-off" responses. Apple claims they lead the industry!
CEO Rajeev Suri, Nokia
These companies didn't even bother to respond to our letters
Cobalt Children, 2017. Consumers and Corporates know it's wrong for children to mine cobalt.
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