Mondays and Tuesdays are very busy days for Pupils and Students across the country. Unfortunately, same cannot be said for School Children in Yeji and surrounding villages and Communities in the Pru-East District of the Bono-East Region.
Such productive days’ especially Mondays’ a market day at Yeji has therefore been made an unofficial holiday for most School going children in the area, especially, those staying at the back of the Lake.
The children skip school to join their Care takers and Masters to work on the Volta Lake and at the main market so they could survive the rest of the week. This situation, the Deputy District Director of Education In-Charge of Supervision, Nakoja Banabas Attah, confirmed.
He however posited that efforts are being made to reverse the trends, which have proven difficult since such children needed to do more to take care of themselves during the week.
According to Mr. Attah, the move is affecting the performance of the children and impacting their education negatively.
At the commemoration of the 2022 World Day Against Child Labour in Yeji, this and other child Labour issues came up for discussion.
The SECRIFISE project being implemented by “Hen Mpoano”, CEWEFIA and Challenging Height” held various awareness creation programmes including Radio Talk Shows, Community Sensitization, a walk-through principal street of Yeji with School Pupils and a Durbar of Chiefs with Officials, Parents and Pupils to commemorate the day.
Yeji is known for its notoriety in Child Labour and Trafficking and it is one of the destinations for trafficked children and child Labour in Ghana, hence the decision by the SECRIFISE project sponsored by the European Union to mark the day in the area.
Statistics from the District Department of Social Welfare indicate that one hundred and 30 children age between 7 and 17 years were rescued in the area in 2021.
According to the Head of the Pru-East District Department of Social Welfare, Martin Luther Sungholi ninety of them are males and 40 females. He noted that, ”as at June this year 2022, 47 children have so far been also rescued in the same area”.
This year’s day is being commemorated under the theme “Universal Social Protection to End Child Labour”.
The Day is an International occasion to educate the public on issues of concern, mobilize political will and resources to address this menace.
The Programs Officer for CEWEFIA, Nicholas Smith, noted that the main objective of SECRIFISE is to advocate the rights of children especially in the fishing Communities of Ghana.
According to him, it is time for all stakeholders especially civil society and the media to stand firm and press hard their demands on duty bearers to secure an opportunity and hope for a better future for children.
The Programs Officer for Challenging Height, Stephen Addo, highlighted the seriousness of Child labor in the area and called on stakeholders in the Communities especially parents to help to build Child Labour Free Zone.
The DCE for Pru-East Alhaji Adams, acknowledged child labour as a major concern and highlighted a number of programs the government is spearheading towards eradicating the canker. He charged parents and the Communities to support the Assembly and other stakeholders in dealing with the situation.