Stephen now happy in school at Fete
CHILD LABOUR & TRAFFICKING PROJECT
A lot of things have been going on with the project since our last report. Our Labour & Traffiking team has continued conducting interviews in Senya Beraku and the monitoring of students who we already sponsor.
Stephen is originally from Senya Beraku but is now living in Fetteh. He’s not sure about his exact age or how long he had been working, but thinks he’s about 13, and had been working as long as he can remember. When we met him, Stephen was fishing with his uncle on a boat in the open ocean seven days a week. They would usually go out around 3pm, and wouldn’t return until 2am the next day. He spent his mornings on the shore fixing the nets instead of sleeping. Though he would earn 20 Ghana Cedis ($10 USD) on a good day, the money was paid directly to his mother who lived elsewhere. While he was working, Stephen lived with his boss, making it impossible for him to miss work. He has been bullied by the boss and severely injured performing the work. Stephen had previously attended school on and off until class three when he moved away with his mother. Constantly moving around made it extremely difficult to keep up with regular schooling and most of the time his mother was unable to afford his school fees. Dissuaded by not having regular classes, Stephen found himself working more and more. When CHF interviewed him, most of Stephen’s friends had returned to school and he hoped he would be able to join them one day.
We selected Stephen for sponsorship and have closely monitored his progress in Class 2. His instructor reports that he has almost perfect attendance, takes care of his textbooks and learning materials, and has done well academically.
Emmanuel is a 12 year old boy who used to attend school until class 5. CHF interviewed him down at the shore in Fetteh where he revealed that he could no longer afford to pay the school fees which is why he was working. Emmanuel was employed by the fisherman, mending the nets and pulling in the boats. He went to shore by himself but works for some of his dad’s friends and told us that he finds doing these tasks six days a week very tiresome although he does like the money aspect of it, or 1-2 Ghana Cedis per day ($0.50-$1.00 per day). His father is a security man while his mother does not work. Both were educated to Junior High School level. Emmanuel lives with his mother and father who provide his supper for him but he has to buy breakfast and lunch for himself with the money he makes from working. If there is any money left over, he often has to contribute to his mother. He told us that his parents would prefer it if he returned to school and he would like to go back in order to have brighter future.
CHF selected Emmanuel for sponsorship based on his past education and his desire to return to school. Since enrolling back in class 5, Emmanuel has been doing well on his exams and his teacher reports that he is eager to participate in class.
* Names changed for privacy
At the beginning of 2013, CHF outlined a number of potential initiatives which would assist with income generation and skill building in the local fishing communities. Here is a brief description of each proposal:
- Agriculture Project – In January, CHF was presented with the opportunity to acquire land in the Senya Beraku area. Initially, we envisioned a farming cooperative for the parents of our sponsored children and other less fortunate individuals in the community. After doing some research we decided that a demonstration farm would be a better idea to train people how to grow crops for themselves. In the coming weeks we will be working on securing the land, raising funds to support this project and brainstorming ideas on how the training program will work.
- Apprenticeship Program – This program has been a little slow in getting off the ground because of how transient the older fishers are. We have been trying to target people in their late teens to early twenties who are not interested in receiving a formal education and don’t see a way out of the fishing industry. While we have interviewed two possible candidates, they have since been in the Ivory Coast following the fish. In the meantime, CHF is creating a database of skilled workers who can be used in the future as we locate more individuals interested in learning a trade.
- Adult Education – After conducting a trafficking interview a few weeks ago, our team encountered a woman who asked if we could teach her how to read and write in English. This is an area we have been exploring because of CHF’s passion for education. We have recently spoken with the local Non-Formal Education Division of the Ghana Education Service and discovered that there are literacy classes being held in Senya Beraku. CHF will observe and evaluate these classes and determine if it is worth partnering with the Ghana Education Service or to set up our own training classes.
- Sensitization and Dialogue with Parents – CHF constantly monitors the academic progress of our 51 sponsored students through monthly progress reports. These reports keep track of attendance and overall performance and attitude in school. While these progress reports keep CHF up-to-date with our students, there has never been a formal way to relay the information back to the parents or guardians of the students. One of the missions of the Stop Child Labour & Trafficking project is to refocus the parents/guardians priorities so that education comes first. In the coming months CHF will work on a system to extend these reports back to the parent/guardians in our effort to sensitize them to the importance of an education and to restore some pride in the achievements of their children.
Despite our current lack of funds, CHF is highly confident that all of these programs will be feasible in 2013. The agriculture project has taken priority because of the scale of the proposal and its potential to alleviate the economic hardships in some of the most impoverished families. In the next month we aim to have a more concrete view of all of these initiatives and be able to outline a timeframe for everything. Hopefully within that time, we can raise funds through Global Giving to help finance these long-term projects.
We humbly appeal you to share this report and the project page to all friends and families who would be interested in supporting to sustain this project.
Cheerful Hearts Founation Team
Emmanuel before his rescue at Fete fishing shore
Emmanuel now happy in school at Fete
Rescued kids being taught to improve their Grammar
Some of the rescued kids with community volunteer
stop child Labour educational Campaign in schools