Like all Ghanaians, I love Ghana -and find it hard to accept that Ghana is a third World country -and as such, has all the problems associated with it. But when I am faced with a report (by Reuters - I trust them) stating, -'More than a million children in Ghana don’t go to school because they have to work to help their parents pay the bills', -it drives me crazy. It makes me wonder -what the hell is going on? Surly some of Ghana's GDP or GNP -must trickle down (at some level) to education (at least).
The report, also states that, 'Ghana’s constitution forbids children under 15, from working' -and I wonder; -if, this is the case, surly the Ghanaian government would have made provision for all children (under the age of 15)? Because, if a child has to contribute to the income of a 'wanting' household,- the only deterrent is -say, help with the cost of uniform and books -(so that the parent (s) -who is going to loose an income, knows -that they do not have to worry about the aforementioned) -and maybe, 'real' help for 'real' single mothers -(this could be in the form of a -NGO or a co-operative set up by women for women (regionally) -where they can put their money and (skills) together and achieve results).
I wonder also about the government of Ghana -and accountability. Do the people of Ghana not demand results -and if not, surly they must start and set the ball rolling (for the whole of Africa) -by demanding, 'no results, on pay'. The report also mentions the, 'Gbaawe stone quarry' a short distance outside Accra (where children work alongside their parents etc) and I wonder -does this quarry -pay taxes to the Ghanaian government -if it does, can't these taxes be used to send these children to school -but more than that, -can't they stop this quarry (and others like them) from employing children?
I know that my arguments are (probably) over simplistic. That there are many layers to this story and that ultimately -it is the poor mother (if her children are stopped from working at the quarry -who will suffer -but what of her children? Wouldn't this be their fate (working at the quarry)-too, -if they don't get the education they desperately need? I know that poverty and bad governance -means that even though the Ghanaian constitution forbids children under 15 from working' -they (probably) cannot afford to pay people to enforce it. Also, I guess that the Ghanaian government has no way of truly compensating these 'poor' households (that will inevitably loose an income -if their children stop working -but surly, there must be hope -or some answers?
Lila Macqueen Djaba -mentioned in the report, is doing her bit to curtail this problem. Lila runs, 'Child Care Foundation' -a non-profit, non-governmental organization -that provides free education for disadvantaged children (orphans, child workers, street kids and vulnerable children). Child Care Foundation provides a healthy; nurturing environment, quality care, protection, education, -and is currently supported by, 'concerned' Ghanaian families and individual donations from friends of CCF in the United States and Europe. The friends of CCF are made up of visitors -who have pledged to help Lila's school. I look forward to visiting the Child Care Foundation -when I am next in Ghana. You can support Lila and her school at http://ccfghana.blogspot.com/ God Bless Lila and the children (Ghana's future).....
You can read more about this story at: http://blogs.reuters.com/africanews/2009/03/19/getting-children-into-school-in-ghana/#comments