For the past week, students at government schools in Ghana have not been able to attend classes as their teachers are striking. We are grateful that our students have been able to continue their education during the strike thanks to supporters like you who make our highly subsidized private school possible. Over 750 students are now enrolled at Challenging Heights School in nursery through junior high school two. Nearly 70 of these students are directly supported by GlobalGiving donors. These survivors of trafficking continue to excel in their coursework, sports programs, and whatever new opportunities arise. Recently, Challenging Heights was asked to join a research project that would train students as researchers to gather information from their classmates in order to inform the post MGD discussions. When the programs staff gathered 20 randomly selected students to be trained as researchers, we didn't know what to expect. We were ecstatic to find that not only were the students excited about this opportunity, they were well prepared through their coursework to make the most out of trainings in data collection and other research skills. During one of the training sessions for which the budding researchers had given up their mid-morning break, Ebenezer said, "I love Challenging Heights and I love being a researcher." The next week when the actual data collection began, Patience informed the facilitators that her interview had went better than expected, proclaiming, "I want to be a researcher in future." Through your educational support, children who once had little hope for their futures are now researchers in their own right. Others are working toward a variety of careers, including doctor, lawyer, actor, and activist. Most importantly, these children now know that they can do anything they set their minds to and they are working toward their goals. Thanks again for your help in making our students' futures bright!
Earlier this week I met with a parent to explain the fantastic news that their child has been matched with a sponsor. This sponsorship, thanks to generous supporters like you, provides a child with equipment such as books and pens as well as a uniform, shoes and a bag for one year. The sponsorship also heavily subsidises school fees. This dramatically aids the financial burden of sending a child to school and is evident from the ecstatic reaction of parents, who may otherwise find this burden overwhelming. When a child is in school, their chances of being used in child labour or being trafficked are drastically reduced. Over 120 students at the Challenging Heights School now receive sponsorships from donors like you. The sponsorship scheme is just one of many ways in which Challenging Heights is working so relentlessly to ensure that every child in Ghana sees their rights to freedom from exploitation and access to education fulfilled.
One of the parents I talked to this week reminded me of the grand celebration we held last month when she proudly informed me that her daughter was part of the choreography group at the school. This term Challenging Heights School celebrated its 5-year anniversary. Celebrations saw the children performing traditional, cultural, and modern dances as well as drumming displays, drama performances, and a choir. Government officials visiting the event said that the performances were impressive and that regular rehearsals and shows should continue so as to build the talents of our students. The atmosphere on the final day of the program was wonderful and every child left with a sense of accomplishment and empowerment. They certainly should be very proud of themselves. Their dedication saw them practicing after school most days of the week for months before the final celebration and their hard work paid off with successful performances all around. Challenging Heights School is currently giving over 700 children the chance to receive an education, the opportunity to fulfil their potential and ever so importantly, the chance to enjoy being a child. We couldn’t have gotten this far in our fight to provide every child with a meaningful education and protection against forced labour and trafficking without supporters like you.
Thank you for all you do to support our work. We wish you a lovely holiday season from everyone here at Challenging Heights and look forward to updating you again in the new year.
The school year commenced this month at the Challenging Heights School. Over 710 eager students, in their blue and yellow checked uniforms, started classes from nursery to Junior High School. Thanks to support from GlobalGiving donors, 65 at-risk boys and girls from deprived families and underserved fishing communities were guaranteed at least one academic term of education last quarter. Through your donation, these 65 boys and girls had their school fees paid and received other school supplies such as uniforms, books and book bags, shoes, pens and pencils. Your support is especially important in this community that is severely affected by the menace of child trafficking and other worst forms of child labour.
Historically, children from the oceanic fishing communities surrounding the Challenging Heights School have been sent 10+ hours north to the top of Lake Volta and forced to work in the fishing industry there. Poverty, lack of education, lack of awareness, and deception all play a role in how children get to be trafficked and forced to do dangerous work. In addition to the school for survivors and at-risk children, Challenging Heights runs awareness programs in communities so that they can begin to take control of stopping child trafficking for themselves.
The effectiveness of these community outreaches has been particularly evident as school reopens and returned survivors and children who were recently intercepted from being trafficked come to Challenging Heights for technical advice and seeking possible enrollment into our programs including the school. Just this week, one boy was referred to Challenging Heights by a Community Child Protection Committee, who intercepted his impending transport to the lake. Another child was referred by his uncle, who after attending a Challenging Heights awareness event, realized that his nephew was soon to be trafficked. Additional cases are being reported and investigated as the week goes on. Challenging Heights will work to get all of these trafficking survivors enrolled in school and YOUR support through GlobalGiving makes a huge contribution toward making this happen.
Thank you once again and we look forward to sharing more successes from first term with you next time!
Throughout the last quarter, 150 boys and girls between the ages of 10 – 17 benefited from the 'Transform Lives of Former Child Laborers in Ghana' project. Your support has greatly assisted Challenging Heights to provide much needed school materials to our children including school uniforms, bags, footwear, books, pencils and crayons as well as make important contributions to their school fees.
Children involved in the project are performing exceptionally well in the classroom with over 10% of the beneficiaries excelling beyond their peers!
Prior to receiving your support, children were often absent from class or would come to school late. Children were forced to stay at home for days or sometimes weeks because parents could not afford to send their children to school.
For many children in Winneba, Ghana, this has now changed. Your support is ensuring young bright minds regularly attend school!
Read the profile below of Beti. One young child who has received your support.
Betty* is 11 years old and in primary two at Challenging Heights School. Her mother has been the family’s primary provider for the last 10 years as her father is very sick and unfit to work. The main source of family income is generated through her mother’s petty trading business.
Betty's parents are illiterate. Despite this, they support their daughters' desire to go to school and dreams of becoming a successful bank manager. However, at certain times, it has been very difficult finding enough money to cover the basic costs to run the household and unfortunately Betty's schooling is often put on hold during difficult times. Betty would often miss a week or more of school while the family tried to find the necessary funds. Constant disruption to her schooling routine significantly affected Betty's class performance.
However, thanks to your support, Betty no longer has to worry about finding money for her schooling or falling behind in class. Just like other children, Betty now focuses on studying hard at school; playing with her friends and working on making her dreams come true.
Betty is now one of the happiest children in our school. She attained A's and one B across her 8 different subject areas and only missed one day of school last semester.
Betty's family has been linked to a micro-credit program to ensure her parents can support Betty and her siblings in the future.
“Challenging Heights has given me an opportunity to live to achieve my dream of becoming a bank manager through this support. Am however, asking Challenging Heights to continue to support other children whose have found themselves in the same family conditions as my family”. (Betty)
“The support from Challenging Heights has lessened the financial burden of providing all her school material which affected her studies. Am most grateful to Challenging Heights for their timely support to Betty and our family at large”. (Betty's mother)
*Betty is not her real name.
Challenging Heights wants to say a big thank you to everyone who donated to its programs. Over the last period, your generosity has supported 40 former child slaves to return to school or commence learning for the very first time. Since we launched on Global Giving’s website in September 2010, the money donated has supported a total of 210 children into school.
Unfortunately the majority of families involved in our project are underprivileged, and therefore find it very difficult to afford the necessary school items, including books and uniforms, to send their children to school. This is particularly dangerous, as children outside of traditional schooling systems are not afforded the security of children who attend school and are more susceptible to falling victim to trafficking networks or being exploited within the labour force.
With over 604 children enrolled within our school this semester and the ever-growing demand for education within our community, the program aims to ensure the provision of education is maintained for all our children, and most importantly, that our children are not sold, trafficked or exploited.
We need your support to keep our children in school!
Through the generosity of our supporters, we have been able to assist vulnerable children to return to the classroom where they are provided the opportunity to reclaim their lives and strive to be the future leaders of Ghana and the world!
Your generous support has paid for tuition, school uniforms, sports materials and any other equipment that assists in the children's education and school performance.
With your ongoing support and commitment, together we will ensure our beautiful children walk on the road to recovery. The traumatic experiences will diminish and our children will move towards a bright and wonderful future full of hope, laughter and happiness.
We ask that you kindly please continue to support Challenging Height’s efforts to transform the lives of vulnerable and at-risk young people in Ghana through Global Giving.
Thank you very much for your generosity and ongoing support.
James Kofi Annan and The Challenging Heights Team.
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10/56, Dentu Avenue, Awudome Estate, Acc,