During our field trip to Ghana we travelled to Winneba to visit the Challenging Heights school that serves the local area and educates many of the children rescued from child trafficking and child labour by Challenging heights. On the day of our visit, they were busy building new classrooms to hold computers that are being donated to the school. The older children were helping the volunteers whilst the younger ones ran around playing games during their playtime, laughing and skipping across the dusty playground making it almost impossible to imagine the experiences that some of them have had before reaching this safe haven.
We spent the majority of our trip talking to James Kofi Annan about the organisation and were most struck by how it is his openness and ingenuity that have helped Challenging heights to grow over the last 6 years. James is a truly inspirational leader with an amazing talent for engaging people both locally and internationally in an issue that he is so passionate about and that needs attention and increased awareness. We were so encouraged to see a local leader embody such a spirit of hope for Ghana and Africa.
In 2007, the School run by Challenging Heights started to provide a solution for what to do with children in the community that needed an education, and where to place children that had been rescued from child trafficking and labour. After 6 months of opening, the school already had 180 children in it that had never been to school before.
James attributes the success of Challenging heights to credibility of the project and the organisation. By putting the beneficiaries right at the heart of what they do, by being willing to make sacrifices, the credibility of the project shines through, making it easy for people to want to offer support: ‘If you love what you do and sacrifice, people see and are interested’. Having visited James, experienced his passion for the issue of child trafficking and child labour and seen how he has turned this into a tangible reality of support, it is an evaluation that I can easily agree with.
Challenging Heights wants to say a big thank you to everyone who donated to its programs. Over the last period, your generosity has supported 35 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 205 children into primary school.
With your generous support, we have been able to assist some of the most vulnerable children in the world out of enslavement by returning them to the classroom. As many families are unable to afford to send their children to school, children are vulnerable to trafficking networks where they are exploited, abused and starved of an education... and a childhood.
These children are now on the road to recovery. The trauma and pain sustained and exploitation endured from the worst forms of child labour has ceased and the children are now free to be happy, confident children who love going to school and playing with their friends.
Your contribution has paid for tuition, school uniforms, sports materials and any other equipment that will assist with the children's education and school performance.
Unfortunately there is still a great need with thousands of children still enslaved in Ghana. With your continued support, Challenging Heights will be able to expand our programs and help more desperate children. Please continue to support Challenging Height’s efforts to transform the lives of vulnerable and at-risk young people in Ghana.
Thank you very much for your generosity and ongoing support.
Challenging Heights Team.
Challenging Heights is celebrating our successes in 2010, having supported a record 1,195 children who are survivors of trafficking, slavery and the worst forms of child labour or are vulnerable to child labour and trafficking. We were able to highlight this achievement recently at our annual review conference.
Some of our achievements during the year were:
- Rescuing 15 children from slavery in fishing, and helping with the reintegration of 10 others.
- Helping achieve the first successful prosecution under Ghana's Human Trafficking Act (2005).
- Growing enrolment in Challenging Heights School to 435.
- Growing our Evening School enrolment to 100.
- Educating 500 girls and young women on child labour and trafficking, reproductive health rights and HIV/AIDs.
- Providing literacy and vocational education to 110 young adults.
- Reaching approximately 10,000 people through community awareness campaigns on child labour and trafficking.
Our programs have lead to a dramatic increase in awareness of the criminal nature of child trafficking. We can see the difference we're making in the increase in the number of cases reported to Challenging Heights and the police by members of the community.
Despite the great gains we've made, we continue to focus on our goal of ending the worst forms of child labour. We believe this is achievable, so while we can congratulate ourselves on the hard work we have done in a very successful year, we are also focused on continuing to grow and help more children in 2011. In 2011, we hope to increase our programs and reach a target of 1,350 children in need.
Challenging Heights is celebrating a fantastic start to 2011, with an increase in the number of children we support.
The 170 former child labourers and at risk children supported through GlobalGiving have gone back to school for the second term of the school year. We are even more excited about our achievements because this year we have been able to support an additional 30 children, bringing the total number of children supported to 200.
The past term has seen many improvements for the children at Challenging Heights School. The children have shown improved attendance and punctuality. Many have shown an improvement in grades on the previous year.
The children have also become more involved in the community with many participating in cultural activities such as dancing and drumming. Others have entered Challenging Heights’ community spelling bee where children from different communities compete against each other.
Challenging Heights wants to thank everyone who has used GlobalGiving to donate to its programs to help former child labourers. Because of your help we have been able to support some children in our school from grade one to grade six. The money you donated so far has helped more than 170 children since we launched on GlobalGiving in September. The children we are helping are some of the most vulnerable in Ghana. Their families lack the resources to send them to school and many have ended up in the worst forms of child labour. Thanks to you these students now have their school fees paid and have been supplied with school uniforms, sports materials and other school equipment. Challenging Heights is helping these children undergo the transformation from the trauma and injuries they’ve sustained in the worst forms of child labour to happy, confident children who are going to school for the first time. With your continued support, Challenging Heights will be able to help more children. We want to expand our programs to reach even more of the vulnerable children in the communities we work in. Please continue to support Challenging Height’s efforts to transform the lives of formal child labourers and vulnerable children in Ghana.
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10/56, Dentu Avenue, Awudome Estate, Acc,