Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana

by Action against Child Exploitation (ACE)
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Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana
Providing School Supplies to 100 Children in Ghana

My name is Akira Kondo, and I am the Project Manager for the Ghana region at Action Against Child Exploitation (ACE).  Thank you so very much for supporting our efforts to end child exploitation in the world. 

I am extremely happy to announce the completion of the "Smile-Ghana Project" in 8 communities in the Ashanti state in Ghana. The project started in 2009 and was completed at the end of January 2018.

Due to this project, we have directly saved 454 children from child labor, and have additionally helped to educate around 4,000 children from the communities.  We accomplished our goals and have left in place a system wherein sustainable, child labor-free cacao production and educational opportunities are present.  

From February 1st, 2018, we have started new projects in 2 villages in the Brong-Ahafo, Asunafo-South District.

These two villages are located in a different state, but are in close geographic proximity to the 8 villages from our earlier project, and suffer from similar problems of child exploitation and lack of opportunity.

The educational environment is currently very dire in these villages, as about 40% of school-aged children are engaged in child labor, and are unable to go to school. 

Drawing on our experience working in the Ashanti state, we will collaborate with local people in the new communities to help children to go to school, and to open opportunities for adults to earn a decent income, so that these villages can also become ethical cacao-producing regions, completely without child labor.

I am currently in Ghana now and will be visiting the new villages, as well as the 8 communities of the previous project to conduct a "graduation ceremony" in which we will gather officials in the communities to acknowledge and celebrate the elimination child labor there.

Child labor has been ended in eight villages, but in Ghana, the fight is far from over. There are many areas of Ghana where child labor is still the norm, but with the continued support of donors like you, we will surely vanquish this problem and create a world where all people have the opportunity for advancement and freedom from exploitation.

Thank you for your continued support! We will post updates on this project, and all future endeavors.

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Children walking all day under the scorching sun
Children walking all day under the scorching sun

In the cocoa producing area of Ghana where ACE conducts projects, there are many migrant workers. They come from northern Ghana as well as from foreign countries, such as Burkina Faso, Togo, and Mali to look for work.

 Among such migrant populations, there are cases of “human trafficking”, with children separated from their parents and brought to cocoa farms as workers.

 I would like to share with you one of ACE's experiences rescuing children suffering from human trafficking.

 Here is the story of Emanuel and Stephan.

In January 2010, we encountered two children who were walking with about 10 cattle. It was in the afternoon, and the temperature outside exceeded 30 degrees. They said that they were walking all day under the scorching sun, and that they were starving. It is a very dangerous task for children to attempt to control animals much bigger than themselves, and they were at a high risk of being trampled or otherwise grievously injured by the cattle.

 Their names were Emmanuelle (who was 11 years old) and Stephan (who was 14). They had left their parents who lived in Northern Ghana, and were brought to the Anglo village of Ashanti in Ghana. They lived there working for the peasant farmers who make their living through cacao production and pastoral farming. The employer's children were attending school, but Emmanuelle and Stephan were not allowed to go to school at all.

 Children brought by human trafficking from the northern part of Ghana to the southern part where cacao grows:

 Separating children from their parents and forcing them to work is human trafficking and is prohibited by both Ghanaian and international law. If children are found in forced labor circumstances, they have to be protected immediately. We wanted to save Emmanuelle and Stephan as soon as we encountered them, but it was much more difficult than we thought.

In order to actually protect them, many complicated judicial procedures were necessary, such as arresting the employer who was carrying out the illegal act of using child laborers acquired through trafficking, and put them in trial, and demand a court order.  The judicial procedure to rescue Emmanuelle and Stephan did not go smoothly. Every time we visited them, we checked their safety, but sometimes we felt helpless not being able to rescue them immediately.

 The moment when we resolved to save children from human trafficking:

In late May 2010, we visited them to check their situation.  Emmanuelle and Stephan told us that their employer made a promise to their parents that Emanuel and Stephen could go to school there.  Emmanuelle and Stephan also believed the employer’s promise, but in reality, they were not allowed to go to school, not even once.

They said that they were forced to carry the water barrels all day and were forced to prepare meals for the employer’s family. In the cacao harvest season, they were forced to work in the cocoa farms, climbing trees to drop cacao beans. They were threatened by the employer that "If you do not listen to what I say, there is nothing for you to eat."

 When we ask, if there was anything they want to ask, Emmanuelle said;

 "I want to get out of here right now, if that is possible."

 We heard his desperate voice, and that strongly moved us. Despite it was the weekend, we asked the county governor, the social welfare department, the judicial bureau, and the police to rescue them urgently. Because of our enthusiasm, people cooperated, and finally we were able to rescue the two children.

 After that, Emmanuelle and Stephan were able to receive doctor's check-ups and psychological counseling while living under the administration of the social welfare department of the county. In fact, we found that they had a number of diseases, and they were forced to work under severe condition while sick.  We strongly regretted that we could not have rescued them earlier.

Things necessary to protect children in human trafficking

Later, with the cooperation of the social welfare department, we found where Emmanuelle and Stephan’s parents were.  The north-eastern state of Northern Ghana, where their parents lived was so far away from the Ashanti state where ACE was conducting its project, and it was such a hard job to find where they were. We were so lucky that we found their family, and the children were able to reunite with their own family. Their parents didn’t know that Emmanuelle and Stephan were in the forced labor under inhumane conditions, and they cried when they found out about it.

In the Smile-Ghana Project, we are working to protect children from the suffering and abuse of human trafficking and to reunite with their families. In areas that ACE supports, we have found, protected and reunited several trafficked children.

The money we raise through this crowdfunding will also be used to support the education of children who suffer from human trafficking.

In order to protect children and return them to their families, it takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money. The donations that you make here will be used to educate children who have suffered from such trafficking.

We appreciate your kind support, and thank you for helping reach the day when all children can have safe lives, educational opportunities, and the love and protection of their families.  

These 2 boys were working all day
These 2 boys were working all day
Right after children were rescued
Right after children were rescued
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Godfred in a classroom
Godfred in a classroom

My name is Akira Kondo, and I am the Ghana Project Manager for ACE.  Thank you all for your interest in ACE, and for making donations to support our efforts.

I think that it is very important for supporters to see the real-world effects that donations can have on the individuals and communities in our project areas. For that reason, I would like to introduce one of the children in Ghana who has benefitted directly from ACE's support over the years.

Godfred escaped the exploitation of child labour with the support of an ACE-sponsored program. Godfred started Elementary school when he was 7 years old, but his education was cut short when the death of his father made his going to school too much of a burden for his mother and two younger siblings. His mother could neither read nor write, and this made her prospects for supporting the family very bleak. 

At the age of nine, Godfried was adopted by his grandparents, but this did not improve his situation, as he was then forced to work on his grandfather’s cacao plantation. He still wanted to find a way to go back to school, so he took a second job working on a different cacao farm, to raise money to buy school supplies. Without intervention of some sort, Godfred's case seemed to have little hope. 

Fortunately, ACE started the SMILE-Ghana project in his village (Kwabena Akwa) in 2009. This project attempted to convince parents, and other adults in the village, of the importance of education, and to provide basic materials for children to learn. Due to these efforts, Godfred’s grandparents changed their minds and decided to allow Godfred to go to school, where he thrived, not only learning but being allowed the time to play, develop, and grow in ways that could not be imagined had he been left toiling away on a plantation.

He did so well that ACE invited Godfred to come to Japan in 2010, when he was still in his second year of Junior high school, as part of ACE’S 5-year anniversary project.  Godfred had a great experience, and was able to join a symposium, visit Japanese schools, and meet with Japanese politicians. All of these things would have been unthinkable just a few years before.

After returning to Ghana, Godfred studied very hard, and graduated from Junior high school with distinction in 2012, receiving a scholarship to study at a high school in a village near Kwabena Akwa. He graduated from high school in 2016, and now hopes to continue his education even further, pursuing his dream of becoming a medical officer or nurse, so that he can help the people in his village. 

When Godfred came to Japan, he told us how thankful he was that he could find a way to escape child labour, but he also reflected that there were many who have not been so lucky.

“If ACE didn’t come to my village, I think I would still be working and couldn’t go to school. But still, in other villages in Ghana, children are working on cacao plantations. I would like it if such children were also able to attend school, and not be forced to labor.”

When he was in Japan, Godfred introduced us to a poem that he had written. He wrote the poem in Twi (a Native language of Ghana) on the long bus ride to Acra (the capital of Ghana) where he went to get a passport. It was during his very first trip far from his village.  

Though he was still a junior high school student when he wrote it, we felt that this poem described his feelings very beautifully, and perhaps also gave voice to the plight of the 152 million children who still suffer from child labor worldwide.

 

Here is his poem: 

TINY HANDS THAT DO MONSTROUS JOBS

It all start as a help in the family cocoa farm
Compel by mother’s struggle to take care of the family
I show direction to the families cocoa farm
Tiny hands, that do monstrous jobs in the cocoa farms
Why should children suffer? 
Why should children work as labourers in the cocoa farm? 
Why should we do this everyday?
From dawn to dusk with these tiny hands 
We are tired of doing this everyday
Stop child labour in the cocoa farm

It’s like they don’t know how we feel inside 
Because our age sometimes doesn’t seem that real
But we feel more pain than they do sometimes express them
And for what they’re doing to us
They should be sued
We are sick of doing this everyday
The pain, the fatigue, and the struggle we go through everyday
But who listens, who cares, or is it because we are voiceless? 
Stop child labour

Our cuts and bruises and fatigue legs aren’t healing
As we do this day by day
It’s like they feel, but have no feelings at all
And aren’t bothered of what we have to say
We are tired of doing this everyday
Stop child labour

They get paid with the tears we shed and the pain we go through
We get no love, affection or a bed
We need some help, because tiny hands do monstrous jobs
So someone help us please
Help us get some dignity
Help us defend our rights, rights to be in school and have education
Have the courage to raise your voice
To help those in need
Those whose voices are so shattered
And whose lungs cannot breathe
We are sick of doing this everyday
Stop child labour 
They are tiny hands doing monstrous jobs

Thank you

By Godfred (Originally written in Twi)

 

We will continue our project in Ghana so that all children can have access to education, and they can have their dreams come true. 

 

Participated in a class of Japanese School
Participated in a class of Japanese School
Visited Japanese high school
Visited Japanese high school
With Japanese high school student
With Japanese high school student
Godfred making speech in Japan
Godfred making speech in Japan

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Organization Information

Action against Child Exploitation (ACE)

Location: Taitoku, Tokyo - Japan
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ace_japan
Project Leader:
Masami Narizuka
Taitoku, Tokyo Japan
$10,992 raised of $15,000 goal
 
98 donations
$4,008 to go
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