..All Volunteers Sacked, Children Threatened To Deny Story
Anas Aremeyaw Anas reports from Osu Children's Home
The New Crusading GUIDE can confirm that children at the Osu Childrens Home are currently being threatened by the Management (Caregivers) to deny the investigative piece done by the New Crusading GUIDE.
The children are being coached one by one to tell the world that Management has been giving them tender loving care over the years, Management has been giving them good food, Management has not been beating them, Management has been singing lullabies to put them to sleep, Management has not been eating their food etc. despite the overwhelming evidence of human right abuses and negligence of duty captured on the undercover video.
More dangerous to the already traumatized children is the fact that all volunteers who have been assisting the children and helping to give the children a sense of belonging have been stopped from entering the nation's flagship orphanage by Management on the assumption that they may have aided in the blowing of the whistle on the activities of the Home. Also, sellers around the Home who used to visit the Home have been banned from entering the Home on the premise that they may be the ones who hinted The New Crusading Guide on the various human right abuses embedded within the Home.
More interestingly, food quality in the Home has been changed dramatically. New babies cots have been provided. The kids are now being dressed early in the morning as part of the cosmetic changes to make the world believe that the kids are being well taken care of as expected.
One care giver of the Home who spoke to this reporter under strict anonymity said “this investigative report has hit us so hard that we are confused but I don't think the right thing to do is to coach the children on what to say when they are questioned. The threat on these kids by Management would rather end up worsening our problem since some of the children are likely to confess that we (Management) have coached them to defend our position as good care takers”.
The children are being taught to say that ; we eat good food, nobody beats us, our mothers love us and we also love them so don't sack them, we are very comfortable, nobody steals our donations, they cook very sweet food for us, among others. The children have been made to memorize and pour these lines by heart whenever any stranger asked them any question.
But, interestingly, not all of them who have been able to recite all the lines. When The New Crusading GUIDE reporter met one of the children in the Home, although he was asked whether he attended school and when school would reopen, he struggled to recall the points but managed to say “they don't beat us ooh; the food they give me is very sweet papapa” He struggled to recall the rest, paused for about a minute and said 'eeeh hei, they also sing for us to sleep and the rest when I remember I would tell you'. Thinking that this reporter was a government official he added 'do not sack them'
Also on the web, some volunteers who have visited the Home for the past three years have decided to come together to form an umbrella association to channel their grievances of the chain of human right abuses they witnessed while in the Home. Please see page 4 more reactions.
A senior police officer (name withheld), who is part of the investigative team disclosed to this reporter that the coaching being giving to the children was not good. He expressed confidence that children, “being who they are, can be coached for a while, but later, would expose everything including the people who coached them”
The Senior Police Officer therefore promised that “he and his team are determined to unravel the crime behind this orphanage no matter what the suspects put into the heads of the innocent children, they should have been separated from the kids”.
The Osu Children's Home has come under heavy criticisms after the exposure of human right abuses and negligence of duty with a section of the public calling for the closure of the Home.
The Secretary General of the Pan African Writers Association (PAWA) Prof. Atukwei Okai, in a brief interaction with this paper last week was almost in tears after reading the publication. He described the situation as “genocide”. Although he did not support the call of the closure of the home, he said it was a systematic failure for which the nation as a whole must be held liable and called for a total overhaul of the Home and a re-look at all rehabilitation centers and conditions of the various prisons.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Emile Short, has congratulated The New Crusading GUIDE and its ace investigative reporter, for the investigative piece.