My name is Akira Kondo, and I am the Project Manager for the Ghana region for ACE. Thank you so very much for supporting our efforts to end child exploitation in the world.
The "Smile-Ghana Project" was initiated in 8 communities in the Ashanti region in Ghana in 2009 and was successfully completed at the end of January 2018. Due to the implementation of this project, we directly rescued 454 children from child labor, and have additionally helped to educate around 4,000 children from the project communities. We accomplished our goals and have left in place a system wherein sustainable child labor-free cacao production and educational opportunities are present.
In March 2018, after the project was over, we gathered the representatives of the eight villages that we had supported, and invited officials from the region to hold a "graduation ceremony.” I write to you now to present a report on the ceremony.
In the ceremony, there were speeches from the government officials. The person in charge of the local social welfare department said that among the many projects that have attempted in the area this was the most successful, and had the greatest effect in spreading awareness. He also said that he would like to see this project expanded to other areas.
During the ceremony, children from each school performed theater and dance, and overall the ceremony was a successful and joyful event. When the project started, there were no such extracurricular activity as dance or theater in any school in the area, so the ceremony itself was a great reflection of the positive changes that have occurred in the area. I was really happy to see children enjoying themselves and learning through various activities.
At the end of the ceremony, a strong resolve was announced by members of the newly formed "Child Labor Monitoring Team”, who will be monitoring children all across the area to make sure no children are made to work again.
From this point forward, we will continue to follow the progress of the eight villages in the Ashanti region.
Children participating the ceremony