More than 168 million children are trapped in child labour. More than half of them, 85 million, are in hazardous work. This persistence of child labour is rooted in poverty and lack of decent work for adults, lack of social protection, and a failure to ensure that all children are attending school through to the legal minimum age for admission to employment. (International Labour Organization)
“Child labour has no place in well-functioning and well regulated markets, or in any supply chain. The message that we must act now to stop child labour once and for all has been affirmed by the Sustainable Development Goals. Acting together, it is within our means to make the future of work a future without child labour.” – Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General
Every June 12 is marked the world day against child labour. This is aiming to raise awareness and activism to prevent labour. This year’s theme “End Child labour In supply Chains – Its Everyone’s Business!”
Cheerful Hearts Foundation, a human rights organization based in Kasoa and focused on anti-child labour & trafficking, organized a community durbar and sports event at the Senya fishing community to mark this day. The event was organized as part of an ongoing project “My Right My Future” in partnership with Child Rights Ambassadors Denmark.
The event attended by 2,126 community members including Assemblymen, heads of schools, teachers, students, and out-of-school community members was chaired by the Chief Fisherman Neenyi Kwamena Motey V.
It was also very necessary and timely to organize this year’s event in Senya. Aside the several children who work in the shores of Senya, Over 70 -80 children between the ages of 6 and 14 are trafficked from the Senya fishing village in the Central region of Ghana each year to the Volta Lake (Yeji) and other neighbouring countries for fishing activities.
Prior to the commencement of the community durbar and sports event, 200 students selected from various schools in the Senya community paraded and went on a float through the principal streets of the community with Placards with anti-trafficking educational messages. They used this opportunity to also speak to community members about the rights of children, importance of education and the need to end child trafficking in the community.
Message from Chief Fisherman
Neenyi Kwamena Motey V in his opening message stressed on the importance of education to the child, the family, the community and the nation. He mentioned that children are the future and backbone of every community and nation. Education however, is the key to unlocking all future dreams; it is therefore necessary for all children to be in school. Using himself as an example, he made the children and parents understood that he is educated even though he is a chief fisherman. He had the opportunity to study further in his education and therefore able to read and write. Children should therefore not see fishing as something for the child nor is it for the uneducated. One other key issue of concern was the rampant Teenage pregnancy in Senya; and Senya being the highest record in the entire central region of Ghana. This has lead led to increase in school dropout rate and also a root cause of trafficking since these young mothers are unable to take care of the children’s needs. Children should therefore keep themselves away from acts that would put them at risk to the subject.
He also encouraged parents to consider education for their children as a good investment. It would help to break the cycle of poverty in the family and the community.
Other Key Messages
Hon. NKS Anderson, a former Assemblyman and key opinion leader of the Senya fishing community also enlightened parents and community members that, Education for the child is a Right and not a privilege or an option. It is therefore the responsibility of all parents to ensure that children have at least the basic education. Parents should therefore desist from trafficking their children to the Yeji fishing communities.
Other key community leaders including Neenyi Omano II emphasized on the need for children’s education, respect children’s right and the laws that protect children from being abused or denied of their basic rights.
Several sports and fun game activities followed the community durbar. 9 schools participated in events including football (soccer), Tag of peace, sack race, spoon and egg race, kiss heaven and musical chairs. After a really competitive game, Morning Star School Senya took away the trophy for the event. Several other awards including books, pens and certificate of participation was presented to participating schools and individuals who placed first and second positions in all the various games.
The Executive Director of Cheerful Hearts Foundation, Mr. Eric Opoku Agyemang in a closing remark encouraged community leaders, schools, and the entire community to support in the fight against child labour and trafficking in the Senya fishing village. He also used the opportunity to thank the Danish Youth Council for funding, Child Right Ambassadors for great partnership, Ghana Health Services for providing first aid support for the event, Atinka FM for live broadcast, staff and all local and international volunteers who supported in organizing and making the event a success!