“Whenever I recollect my rescue in 2008 by IOM, my heart gladdens because it is what has always given me the hope of achieving my dream of becoming a nurse’’ says Elizabeth.
Prior to her rescue by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in 2008, Elizabeth or Lizzy woke up early at 4:30am every day to sweep the house, fetch water, cook, clean and smoked fish amidst other domestic chores when she was back in Kete Krachi in the Northern part of the Volta Region of Ghana (where she was rescued by IOM). She was exploited for three and a half years before her rescue.Lizzy is currently 17 years old and in her second year at the Junior High School level. She now resides in Ayetepah (a community within the Ga West District of the Greater Accra Region of Ghana). Even though Lizzy used to live with her mother, she recently relocated to her aunt’s home within the same neighborhood to prepare for her Junior High School final examination (Basic Education Certificate Examination). Unfortunately, her mother’s house is not connected to electricity and so she only studied in the afternoons. Relocating to her aunt’s home allows Lizzy to study at night in the year leading up to her exam. She acknowledges that her evening studies have already made an improvement in her academic work, which gives her more hope that the future will be bright.
‘’As much as I love my mum’s, I really want to achieve my dream of becoming a nurse, and this I have been told can only be achieved when I study hard and more so I know I can do it when I move to my aunt’s’’In a year’s time Lizzy will be sitting forher BECE which will give her the opportunity to attend Senior High School for three years, should she be successful with her examination results. This will further lead to her entering a nursing training school to fulfill her nursing dreams.
Donors like you made it possible for Elizabeth’s life to change. Your continuous support has brought her this far and will spur her on to greater heights. We hope you will continue to support IOM Ghana's counter-trafficking project and help us to continue changing the lives of Ghana's child trafficking victims. We ask you to consider participating in Global Giving’s Holiday Campaign. For the entire month of December, 100% or up to USD 100 of each new recurring donation (those who sign up to donate for at least three months) will be matched by Global Giving.
On behalf of USAIM and IOM Ghana, and all the children and communities you have supported, we wish you a joyous and prosperous holiday season, and look forward to hearing from you in the New Year.
“Whenever I recollect my rescue in 2005 by IOM, my heart gladdens because it has made me realize my dream of going to school to enable me become an important personality in the future’’ says Mansah a reintegrated victim of exploitative labour a monitoring visit.
Back in Yeji (a community in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana), Mansah; a girl who is currently 18-years old, wakes up at 5am every day to sweep the house, fetch water, cook, clean and smoked fish amidst other domestic chores. The day continues with her having to go selling food stuffs and fish. While doing all these during the day, she only gets to enjoy food only once before she goes to bed. According to her, remembering all these experiences makes her cry because her ‘’Mistress’’ is a relative of her late mother and she was placed in her care after her mother passed away since she was the most trusted and eligible person in the family to do that.
Living currently in Mafi-Afalekpo; a community close to mafi-Atitekpo (a community in the Volta Region of Ghana) with her guardian, even though situations are not as perfect as Mansah expected, she sees it as a better alternative. She appreciates her current situation more because as much as her guardian has five children of her own, she does her best to provide her with all her basic needs.
Mansah who was exploited for five years before her rescue by the International Organization for Migration in 2005, has always had the ambition to become be a nurse in the future. She is currently in her final year at the Junior High School; should she pass her exams successfully, she will have the opportunity to enter into the Senior High School for three years after which she can enter into a nurses training school to fulfill her dreams.
Donors like you made it possible for Mansah’s life to change. Your continuous support has brought her this far and will spur her on to higher heights. We hope you will continue to support IOM Ghana's CT project and help us to continue to change the lives of Ghana's child trafficking victims.
Never Awukudze, Samuel Amekuadi and Jonas Acquah were all trafficked to Yeji some years back by relatives. As part of different agreements signed by the relatives, the ‘Masters’ of these boys promised their relatives to enroll them in school, while they assist them in fishing after school, but that was not to be. Though these boys lived with different ‘Masters’ in Yeji, they all had similar treatments until IOM intervened and rescued them in the year 2004.
The three young gentlemen endured a lot while with their masters; from working more than 14 hours without rest a day to being fed once a day on an unbalanced meal. In addition to these, they were beaten and molested by their masters. It was emotionally traumatizing for them as they witnessed other children drowning in the process of diving under water to disentangle fishing nets stacked to tree stumps. During that time; they saw their dreams of being educated and becoming prominent people in the future shattered. They all hoped for a miracle to happen to change their situation, it did happen when IOM rescued them in the year 2004.
Never, Samuel and Jonas were all reintegrated with their families after their rescue. Never was reunited with his father and siblings in New Bakpa, Samuel with a relative in Sokpoe; both communities are in the Volta Region of Ghana. Jonas on the other hand was reunited with his father in Immuna; a community in the Central Region of Ghana. IOM placed them all in school
With the constant monitoring and support of IOM enabled by your generous donation, the three boys progressed through the primary school, the Junior Secondary school and finally the Senior Secondary school. They just wrote their final Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination and hope to make good grades to enable them proceed to the University. They have become role models to other children and living testimonies to the fact that when children are given the opportunity, they can make it to higher heights. While Never dreams of becoming a Pilot in future; Sammy and Jonas hopes to become a Medical Doctor and an Accountant respectively.
You have generously contributed towards the change in the lives children; given them hope and they will forever be grateful to you. Together I am sure, we can see them through the University if they make the grades.
Nine (9) year old Paa Kwesi was rescued by IOM in 2011 and has since been reintegrated with his father in a community in the Central region of Ghana.
Paa Kwesi was living with both parents in a fishing community in a fishing district of Ghana. He was just three (3) years when his father left the family and never returned. according to his father, he had to leave his family when his fishing business collapse and it became very difficult to feed his family. Paa Kwesi's mother took care of him on her own until she remarried and had to move to her husband at a mining town in the ashanti Region of Ghana. As she did not want the presence of her son to create any problems in her new marriage, she gave out Paa to a fisherman for a fee when he was just six (6) years old; he had been with the fisherman for three years until his rescue.
While with the fisherman, Paa Kwesi's usual day started at 5am and ended at 8pm. His tasks included paddling and taking water out of the canoe. He was fed only twice a day and said he felt very tired at the end of each day.
Paa whose growth looks stunted as a result of the physical pressure he was put through at a young age of six, is very happy he was rescued by the IOM team. He is currently in school (Kindergaten I) in the Central Region of Ghana; where he is performing academically well, although he had a little difficulty from the beginning.
Paa is very happy now and almost always wears a smile. His interpersonal relationship with his class mates and family members has greatly improved. it is heartwarming to see him progress from the quite and withdrawn child rescued a year ago to a very happy and open child. All these were achieved with the support of your generous donations. He would however need your continuous supports to enable him achieve his dream of becoming a medical doctor in future.
“My name is Never and I am 18 years old. When I was 10, I was removed from school along with my younger brother and sister and we were sent to work with a fisherman. The work was hard and very dangerous.”
Never and his siblings had a normal life until their father began experiencing financial problems and was not able to provide for his large family. The parents were approached by a fisherman who offered to care and send the kids to school in exchange for some work. He offered to pay US$200 for each child, but only paid US$133 for the three.
Once in the fishing community Never worked 14-hour days. A typical started at 5am when he and other children would set off in the dark to begin a long day on the lake. After a meager lunch, they would continue fishing and repairing nets. Never and his siblings would return from work at 7pm.
Although they caught many fish, these were sold by the ‘master’ and were never allowed to use for their own consumption.
“Being sick was not an option,” recalls Never. “When we complained, they would beat us with paddles and force us to continue working.”
Never missed his family so much that he often dreamt of the day when someone would come and take him home. Never was exploited for 2 years before being rescued.
“It was 6pm when an IOM team came on a rescue mission to the village. If not for IOM, I don’t know how my life would be today. Because of what happened to us, we did not behave like other kids, so IOM gave us training before we were brought back to our homes,” adds Never.
The horrific experience kept haunting him even after he returned home. “Sometimes I dreamt of big fish chasing me in a river,” recounts Never.
But he does not blame the fisherman who treated him badly. “I know it is their way of doing business; sometimes it comes from ignorance.”
He is a happy and well-adjusted teenager living with his family and currently in his last year of High School. He believes education has changed him. He speaks English and interacts with friends and other people.
“If I manage to finish school, I will teach my younger brothers and sisters how to read and write, so that they will be like me,” he states proudly.
Never has many plans for the future: “If I have the money, I will set up a business for my family, so that they will not suffer from poverty again.” Never hopes his story will bring rescue to hundreds of children who remain trafficked.
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