News 14 July 2016

From one school to another: $1000 donation helps to improve a Ghanaian community’s education

In 2015, sixth graders from the Montclair Kimberley Academy (MKA) in the US heard about the problem of child labour in cocoa farming. Moved by the realisation that children their own age were involved in the production of the chocolate they so enjoyed, the kids decided to mobilise.

With the help of the ICI they were able to improve the lives of children living in the Ghanaian cocoa community of Nsata Subriso. After fundraising efforts the MKA sixth graders donated $1,000 to ICI. The donation provided a new classroom for the local primary school, complete with 30 dual wooden desks.

“We want to help the Cocoa Initiative because we feel that everyone should have the same opportunities,” said Riley, one of the sixth graders involved in the project, in a video message. “We want to get kids out of the fields and in to schools.”

Prior to the donation the teaching conditions in the community were difficult. According to Georgina Donkor, the head teacher of the school, children would often play truant and not turn up to class. They weren’t happy she said, as up to four children would have to sit at one desk. “Now they sit on it two and two.”

Once the desks were put in place more children came to class and truancy fell.

The teachers now also find it easier to help teach individual children. “Now, when we move to another person to talk, we can move through the desks. Before they were all joined on one long bench.”

Providing suitable teaching conditions is an important step in reducing child labour in cocoa growing communities. By ensuring that children in cocoa communities receive an education they can continue to advance themselves. In this way the cycle of entrenched poverty, that is a significant factor in child labour in cocoa farming, can be broken.

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