Field Stories 11 October 2018

A brighter future for Augustina

Diana Mawusi is a mother of seven children living in Mehame, a cocoa-growing community in the Asanti Region. Her eldest child, Augustina Brago is a beneficiary of the ICI supported apprenticeship programme. Diana tells us about their ordeal and the changes which have come into the life of her family since 2017.

“My husband is a cobbler in Ejisu but he lost his job and had to return to the village. In addition to this, we had no buyers for the cassavas and maize we planted. This resulted in serious financial problems for the family, which was compounded by the fact that we don’t own farmland. We had to rent the land from other people.

My daughter Augustina was not interested in continuing with her education. She asked to be enrolled in a hair styling training.

I went to see a woman at Kunso, a town close to Mankraso, who is a hairstylist. We agreed the woman would train her in exchange for Augustina’s assistance in the house because we didn’t have the money to cover the cost of her enrolment. She was sort of bonded to the woman for the duration of the training. She made my daughter sell at the market for most of the day. She could only go to the shop on Fridays.

When my daughter reported this to me, I realized this arrangement would not be beneficial to her. I, therefore, brought her back to Mehame even though we still didn’t have the money to enrol her in the desired apprenticeship. She had to stay home and help with the farm work until we could either raise the money to support her or find someone who will be kind enough to train her for free.”

“Two months after her return to the community, the Community Child Protection Committee (CCPC) visited our house to talk to my family about the dangers of hazardous child labour. The chairman of the committee later alerted us of ICI’s readiness to support older children at risk of hazardous labour who are interested in apprenticeship programmes. Thankfully, my daughter was one of the children selected by them to be part of this initiative. She started her training last year and she is learning the skills very fast.

I am also part of the Income Generating Activities (IGA) group in my community. We have been trained in soap making. I have started buying some of the equipment personally, so I can start making my own soap aside from what the group does.

The decision I have made now is to start saving for Augustina. I want to start putting aside some monies that can aid her in setting up a salon after her training. This can help her put into practice what she learnt so she can support herself and her family.

I also believe that this opportunity to make some extra income for my family will help me take better care of my children so the younger ones do not have to go through what Augustina experienced.”

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