US Association for International Migration (USAIM)

The U.S. Association for International Migration (USAIM) is the nonprofit partner of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the United States. As a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, USAIM seeks to empower migrants. Through outreach, education, and fundraising USAIM aims to raise awareness about the reality of migration while encouraging positive action. USAIM's Mission: To broaden public awareness To support programs that promote the humane and orderly migration of people To mobilize private sector resources To work in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support domestic and international programs benefiting migrants, di...
Oct 30, 2013

Child Rescued from Trafficking

IOM and development partner negotiate release
IOM and development partner negotiate release

On 23 October, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in partnership with the Government of Ghana and village elders, undertook the rescue of a child trafficked into the fishing industry along Lake Volta. Although, the Government of Ghana has national legislation aimed at prosecuting traffickers (Human Trafficking Act 2005) and supports projects promoting awareness about the child trafficking phenomenon, children continue to be given to fishermen by their parents/guardians, particularly in the Volta Region of the country.

French documentary filmmaker Mr Daniel GrandClément accompanied IOM on its rescue of Samuel (name changed to protect his identify). For the first time the process of negotiation, release and return was captured on film. IOM hopes that this forthcoming film will reignite public support for the release of other children that remain in bonded labour to fishermen. “National and international pressure to stop child trafficking practices in Ghana is necessary to ensure a protected and safe future for all Ghanaian children. All children have the right to develop to their full potential without exposure to exploitative practices. We hope that the visualization of Samuel’s experience will contribute to the elimination of child trafficking,” explains Dyane Epstein, Chief of Mission, IOM Ghana.

Soon after his birth Samuel’s family moved to a village near Yeji. When Samuel was only 3 years old he was forced to start work on Lake Volta, bailing water out of his Master’s fishing boat. According to Samuel, he started more the dangerous and physical work at the age of 5, assisting his Master by working with fishing nets, diving to the bottom of Lake Volta and working long hours.

Following his rescue, Samuel, now aged between 14 and 15, will receive counselling and rehabilitation from officials with the Ministry of Social Welfare, any medical needs will be addressed and his parents/guardians will receive micro-grant assistance to better support his long-term needs. Samuel will also be enrolled in school and/or technical training to improve his chances for future success. Any child rescued as part of IOM’s programme undergoes 2.5 years of monitoring in an attempt to ensure a successful reintegration process.

On behalf of USAIM and IOM Ghana we would like to thank you for your continued support and encourage you to tell others about our work! Stay tuned for more information about our upcoming holiday fundraising initiatives through Global Giving.

Fisherman signs paperwork to release Samuel
Fisherman signs paperwork to release Samuel
Samuel (striped shirt) is officially freed
Samuel (striped shirt) is officially freed
Samuel is now safe at the rehabilitation centre
Samuel is now safe at the rehabilitation centre
Sep 3, 2013

Next Generation of Aid Workers

A reintegrated child speaks about his experience
A reintegrated child speaks about his experience

Since 2010, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) office in Ghana has welcomed students for an eight (8) week summer practicum, bridging the gap between the academic and professional divide. Forged as part of a partnership with Syracuse University, located in upstate New York, USA, this study abroad programme allows the next generation of aid workers to take classroom principles and apply them in a field setting, with guidance from seasoned IOM staff members.

The 2013 group of students was comprised of three undergraduate students and one graduate student, eager to learn about IOM programmes and adapt their experience to match their unique area of study (photojournalism, social work, public health, and international relations). The Syracuse students were in a way a cross-section of a typical non-profit aid organization. A team of individuals working to implement projects in their specialised area at the request of and for the benefit of their assigned community, and taken as a whole contributed more than just a development project or proposal, but also a knowledge bank and a contagious enthusiasm for making a difference in the lives of others.  

The internship started off with a one-week orientation to IOM programmes and Ghanaian language and culture. This was followed by a six week internship assignment at a community that has been affected by child trafficking and completion of a community development project for those in the field. Finally, the programme concluded with a one-week proposal writing and debriefing seminar in Accra.

This year the summer interns focused their community development projects on: interviews with reintegrated trafficked boys; improved hygiene through the installation of hand washing stations at the local schools; waste disposal; and work on the child protection toolkit ‘Free to Be Me’. In just a short time the students were able to become part of the community and leave a lasting impact. Hear from the students:

“One of the biggest problem parents face when deciding to sell their child, is not being educated on the conditions the child will face. Listening to the stories the boys shared, you feel an urge to put a stop to this horrible issue.” – Lauren

“The students and teachers were very receptive and I am convinced that they will utilize the hand-washing stations effectively. I am hopeful that they will translate this practice to their homes. This could ultimately reduce illness and disease in the community.” – Alexa 

Of course as anyone who has worked abroad can attest to it is the final days of your stay in a new place when you realize you have learned a great deal more, even in a short period of time, than the impact you have undoubtedly left behind. So too was it difficult for our students to say goodbye, far too soon. Although, we know they are better
prepared for their future careers and will always receive a warm welcome in Ghana.

On behalf of USAIM and IOM Ghana we would like to thank you for your continued support and encourage you to tell others about our work! Please take part in the September fundraising initiative, where you can have a direct impact on our work through your own fundraising initiatives. See below (more details are available through Global Giving).

How does it work?

  1. create a fundraiser page on GlobalGiving.
  2. Fundraisers that raise at least $500 from at least 10 donors receive an additional $50 match for
    the project from GlobalGiving and become eligible for prizes
    —JetBlue tickets, flip cam, and more!
  3. The top three organizations with the most fundraisers that raise at least $500 from
    10 donors will win bonus awards of $2,000, $1,000, and $500 respectively.
Students learn how to use the hand-washing station
Students learn how to use the hand-washing station
Jun 5, 2013

Field Journal of Child Protection Roll-out

Painting the
Painting the 'Tree of Life' - Nicola Simmonds

Excerpt from Diary of a Roll-out

 Tuesday - March 19, 2013

Today has been a long time coming. We’ve created a pilot Child Protection toolkit – with a special emphasis on counter trafficking/child protection - based on self-empowerment from within the communities. The information has been gathered not only from loads of research but from long and numerous discussions with, not only the Ghana Police Service and District Officers for Health, Social Welfare, and Education, but ultimately, and most importantly, from the communities themselves: the Chiefs and elders, the women, the men, the teachers and the children.

The plan is that today we paint a mural on the school wall of the Tree of Life – the community’s contract with themselves and with us, of their buy-in. We arrive at Agbagorme community at our pre-arranged meeting place and time – under the big tree to the side of the school grounds. We’re excited, ready to go and with a truck full of paint.

No-one’s there but us. We find out that not only are the teacher’s on strike but it’s market day. “Nothing will tear them away from market day,” says Doris, IOM’s Counter Trafficking officer and, for now, our head mobilizer. Yikes. We wait. And wait. A group of mothers arrive and sit near us but not with us. It’s something. Only it’s not – they’re here for another meeting. We wait some more. Finally, in dribs and drabs we get a rather large group of maybe 200, including school kids, parents and elders, the Chief.

Doris asks the community if they know what their responsibilities are as parents, as children and as elders. Our advice that the men should help with the parenting brings uproarious laughter – we’re a comedy act! Clearly, we have quite a journey ahead in the Responsible Parenting department, but the ice has been broken and we have their attention.

Next we ‘break ground’ on the wall: we paint a big white square – the empty canvas. Next the parents, one by one paint some roots – symbolizing that they will provide steady roots for their children in the form of Protection; the Chief and a teacher, plus a couple of elders paint the trunk – their buy-in for keeping an eye on things and taking action where necessary; then some women, chief/elders and a school teacher paint the branches;  and then everyone, but particularly the school kids paint the leaves and fruit with their handprints – their signature.

It was a hectic and happy day, which left the team hot and exhausted but pumped. We’d begun…

To keep reading the journal visit click on the link: http://iom.int/cms/en/sites/iom/home/news-and-views/feature-stories/feature-story-listing/diary-of-a-roll-out.html 


On behalf of USAIM and IOM Ghana we would like to thank you for your continued support and encourage you to tell others about our work! Stay tuned for more information about the upcoming Bonus Day 12 June – as a Superstar organization any donations made to us on GlobalGiving will be match 50% up to $1,000 per donor.

Little All About Me Booklet - Nicola Simmonds
Little All About Me Booklet - Nicola Simmonds
 
   

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