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02.10.2005 Regional News

Parents reminded of their responsibility to children

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Agortorme (V/R), Oct 2, GNA - Parents have been advised not to allow cultural and religious practices to hamper the educational career of their children.

Mrs Patience Vormawor, Deputy Director of International Needs Network (INN), formerly International Needs, Ghana (ING), made the call at Agortome, near Agbozume in reaction to reports that an eight-year old girl had been withdrawn from school by her parents who wanted her to undergo initiation rites at a shrine.

"We hope this practices, which are common in many parts of the country are stopped to grant children their right to grow qualitatively with parental and community support," she said. INN in collaboration with World Vision, Australia, is putting up a block of three classrooms with an office, a store and toilet facilities, for the Agortorme School at an estimated cost of 38,000 dollars. The organisation has also hired teachers for the school and had undertaken to finance one hot meal a day for the children, in addition to periodic medical outreach programmes for the community and job skills training for the adults.

Addressing a day's sensitisation seminar for the community at the weekend, Mrs. Vormawor observed that cultural and religious practices, parental neglect and the engagement of kids in economic activity was hindering their education and their future. She expressed regret that some parents continue to allow their children to be taken through initiations such as the Trokosi system and the Yewe cult when they are too young to understand the effect of such practices on them. She held that the kids would have rejected those practices if they were matured.

Mrs Vormawor advised parents to take advantage of the opportunity to get their children enrolled in school, saying poverty should not be used as a reason for their neglect. Mrs Kate Mikado, Ketu District Director of Girl-Child Education, called for state-parent-community collaboration to guarantee an all-round productive growth for children through education. "An illiterate life is not worth living," she added. She condemned the rising level of child neglect cases in the district and advised parents to send their children to school and make special efforts to protect their girl-children from going astray. Mr Gilbert Adzraku, Director of Ketu District Secretariat of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, educated the community on the various rights enshrined in the Constitution. He reiterated that children have a right to dignified life and protection from their parents and the State.

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