During the past few months, we have had incredible success stories in our work to empower communities to fight child trafficking.
One of the most noteworthy achievements we have seen in this quarter was the prosecution of a child trafficker after the rescue of a child that had been re-trafficked into the fishing industry. During a recent monitoring session with previously rescued children, the Challenging Heights field operations team discovered that one of the children had been re-trafficked to Lake Volta. Challenging Heights was able take immediate action to report the incident to the police and, with the help of a Community Child Protection Committee, help ensure the child made a safe return to his home community. The child’s grandmother, who sold him to a child trafficker for approximately $31 USD, was prosecuted and sentenced to 5 years in prison. The police are still working to prosecute the intermediary and child trafficker.
Your donations continue to make it possible to regularly monitor the children that have gone through rehabilitation and reintegration at Challenging Heights. This monitoring involves meeting with parents or guardians and teachers to ensure that the child’s emotional and physical needs are being met through a safe living environment and continued attendance and participation in school. Additionally, Challenging Heights programmes staff was able to provide children that had been rehabilitated earlier in the year with new school uniforms, school bags, and shoes to help minimize the financial burden placed on parents to keep their children in school.
Thank you for continuing to support our work to keep children in school and away from child labour
With the commencement of term two at Challenging Heights School in January, the Child Sponsorship Program continues to grow, and reach more children. This term, we are happy to report the implementation of new projects, and the growth of existing projects at the CH school.
With the help from our generous donors, we have been able to reach more children for our feeding program for at-risk children this term. When children come to school without money to buy food they often times report feeling confused, angry, tired, and lacking in energy to concentrate on their studies. Some children will even stay home from school if they are unable to get money for food. Since the implementation of the program, the children have reported being able to focus more on their studies and have more energy to contribute to class activities and discussions. Our feeding program is very valuable to our students because we are able to reach the most vulnerable children by supplying them with lunch money to ensure they remain in school and have access to nutritious meals.
Ishmael, age 14, is a student in class 6 at Challenging Heights School. He is a bright student with big plans for the future to become an artist. Prior to being included in the feeding program, Ishmael’s parents would struggle to provide their five children with money for lunches, which would result in Ishmael coming to school without lunch quite frequently. He said that it was difficult to focus on classes and he would often times feel tired and hungry throughout the day. Now that he is benefiting from the feeding program, Ishmael can buy his favourite food, wakye or kenkey, and remain focused and energized to excel in all of his classes and studies. Ishmael says, “If you do not have food you cannot learn. When I come and collect the money for lunch I become happy because I feel motivated to learn, bath, and sleep.” Thank you for helping us to provide our students with nutritious meals!
We have also been able to continue doing maintenance work on our boarding house to ensure the children have a safe and healthy living environment. Our work on the boarding house this term has included repairs to the fan in the boys’ dorm, feeding money, gas for the gas cylinder, and electrical repairs.
A look at the term ahead:
In the current term we are excited to be able to implement new interventions at the Challenging Heights School as part of the Child Sponsorship Program to keep children in school and away from child labour. Some of the upcoming interventions that we will be implementing in the next month include subsidized school fees for vulnerable children and providing school supplies and materials needed to keep our students in school.
We really appreciate your generous support and loyalty to the Child Sponsorship Program! The children are extremely grateful that they are able to come to school and get an education at Challenging Heights School!
We have made some significant strides in the past three months in our work to empower communities to fight child trafficking and the worst forms of child labour. Over the last couple months we were able to successfully reintegrate 27 children back into their communities after undergoing rehabilitation at the shelter. Additionally, we provided 49 families with microloans to help them start or expand their businesses.
One really exciting achievement we were able to accomplish in this quarter through our work has been the rescue of 9 children from slavery by their own communities! These 9 children are now undergoing rehabilitation at our shelter before they will be reintegrated with their families. This voluntary return from slavery was made possible by the work of our 14 Community Child Protection Committees (CCPCs), 7 women’s groups, and over 10 Child Rights Clubs. Furthermore, it shows that our work and investments in the communities, in the form of community sensitizations, clubs, and workshops, are paying off and having an effect on the community members and support groups. It is exciting to see communities taking ownership of combating child trafficking and insisting on a secured, protected and dignified future for all children!
All of these accomplishments were made possible because of your generous support, so for that, we thank you! Thank you for continuing to support our work, it is really valuable to us in that we are able to continue to work with our community support groups to advocate and provide community sensitization to prevent child trafficking and the worst forms of child labour in various communities across Ghana.