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.