All the children singing at the reunification ceremony
All 36 children rescued in January this year (2008) were successfully reunited with their families on the 15th of May, 2008 and began their reintegration process. May 15th is the International Day of the Family and a particular emphasis is placed on the responsibilities of fathers towards their families. Every year, IOM Accra reunites rescued children with their families on this special day in order to highlight the importance of the family in promoting and protecting the rights and development of children.
Several stakeholders from governmental and non-governmental agencies were present at this year’s ceremony, including a representative from the American Embassy.
Before reuniting with their families, the children underwent a comprehensive rehabilitation program with support from health professionals, social workers, psychologists and educators in both the private and public sectors. They also had access to psychosocial counseling designed specifically to enable them to heal from the trauma of their ordeal.
At the beginning of their rehabilitation, the children received medical evaluations and were treated for several diseases including all kinds of sores in their mouths and on their bodies, bilharzias, malaria, anemia, and various skin diseases among others. Two of the children who had severe physical disabilities resulting from their trafficking experience were referred for further assessment at the general hospitals. One of these children suffers from a severe eye injury, while the other struggles with a badly injured spine. The first boy is undergoing treatment under the care of an eye specialist, while the second will have to have a complicated surgery in order to correct his spine.
We are currently soliciting financial support from individuals to help finance his surgery.
All 36 children rescued this year have been placed in schools in the 22 respective communities they come from. All of the children are happy to be able to go to school. One boy, Kojo Tawiah, is especially thrilled about this as he says he has always dreamt of the opportunity to study.
Currently, all 30 parents/guardians of the 36 rescued children are being assessed by social workers in order to enable IOM to support them with Micro-credit assistance.
A mother reuniting with her four rescued children at the ceremon
Kojo Tawiah looking happy to be in school