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Getting children into school in Ghana

March 19, 2009

More than a million children in Ghana don’t go to school because they have to work to help their parents pay the bills.

One woman in the capital, Accra, is trying to persuade working kids to give up their jobs and go to school instead.

Two little girls, 11-year-old Agnes and 13-year-old Hannah, spend their days breaking stones at the Gbaawe stone quarry a short distance outside Accra.

Their mother, 38-year-old Afua Mansah, has seven children and no husband, and the stones that Hannah and Agnes break into tiny pieces are added to her own and then sold to construction companies.

Asked whether she would like to attend school, Agnes told Reuters Africa Journal: “Yes I will stop breaking stones and come to school. I want to be a hairdresser when I grow up.”

Ghana’s constitution forbids children under 15 from working, but you wouldn’t know it looking at the Gbaawe quarry.  That’s why Lila Macqueen Djaba visits the quarry whenever she can. The 28-year-old runs a school funded by private sponsors and her aim is to get as many Ghanaian children as possible out of employment and back into the classroom.

Primary education is free in Ghana but parents have to buy school uniforms and books. At Lila’s school, all the learning materials are paid for, and there is even money to send some children to private schools once their level is advanced enough.

The school started with two children four years ago. Today, more than 100 pupils attend seven hours of classes every day.  The teachers are all volunteers taking time out of their day jobs to give something back.

Lila meanwhile needs to raise cash to keep her school going. She is helped by sponsors from Ghana, the United States and Europe and once they agree to support the school, they get a necklace or waist chain made of beads by Lila and the children as a token of appreciation.   

But Lila’s project is still too small to make a real impact and the country faces a big task in getting its children into school.

The streets of Accra swarm with children trying to make a sale to passing motorists. The youngsters are  the human face of a survey that has found that 20 percent of Ghana’s children aged between 7 and 14 work for a living — that’s 1.2 million children in the country as a whole.

Comments

The roadmap to a health leadership and economy progress is vested in the entity of the nations mindful youth champions. Neither thus it regard someones gender, race or background but the input and output of the forcussed themes for her/his country.Lila Macqueen Djaba’s story is worthy of praisal. I would like to let Lila know that
challenges are meant to be sign posts to success rather than the obstacles we often take them to be. Lila believe that faith sees the invisible, belies the incredible and receives the impossible. Continue with your dream of enabling the Ghanian children realise their future dreams trough your foundation.

FRED WAFULA OWITI SUMBULE,
MOMBASA-KENYA.

Posted by FRED WAFULA OWITI SUMBULE | Report as abusive
 

This must stop and my Ghana I grow up in wasn’t like that.
The foundation I had is what sustained me when I moved to Canada. I mean education in Ghana was the best foundation anyone would ever get in life. The government should enforce the rules and parents should be supportive all aspect of this enforcement because they’re the future leaders, doctors, lawyers, teachers and councillors in society which can never be ignored.

Posted by Albert Carl | Report as abusive
 

We offer different school uniforms to schools as their unique identity.You can get school uniforms in all type and all size.Customer service and satisfaction is dominant to us.

Posted by santoshkumar | Report as abusive
 

am a young guy of 23yrs of age, who is a computer engineer after reading this profile i am so down and unhappy about the situation and i will do what i can to see what i can also do to help this needis.

i will like to know who should contact for this issue

thanks

Posted by sethenam | Report as abusive
 

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