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18.02.2006 General News

NGO supports 2,500 children prone to Child Trafficking

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Bongo (UER), Feb. 18, GNA - A Tamale-based NGO is supporting 2,500 children from 50 schools in five districts in the Northern and Upper East regions to complete their basic and Junior Secondary Schools to prevent them from being trafficked.

Regional Advisory Information and Network Systems (RAINS) in collaboration with ILO/IPEC would pay full school fees for 50 identified needy children in each school, provide them with all educational materials including school uniforms, footballs and jerseys, and in some cases bicycles.

The NGO and ILO/IPEC had funding from the Lutrena fund an international body working to eliminate Child Trafficking from the West African sub-region.

The beneficiary districts are Tolon/Kumbungu, Savelugu/Nanton and West Gonja in the Northern Region, and Bongo and the Kassena Nankana districts in the Upper East Region. Mr. Nyadia Sulemana, Child Trafficking Project Officer of RAINS disclosed this when he embarked on a two-day tour of the selected schools in Bongo and the Kassena Nankana Districts in the Upper East Region to interact with teachers about the project.

He explained that the project would help to combat child trafficking from the communities by ensuring child trafficking children would be well catered for and urged teachers and community leaders to lend their support for the project.

He said apart from giving the material support to the children, RAINS would organize a capacity building workshops for teachers and parents on the dangers of child trafficking, essence and the need to enrol children into schools.

Mr. Sulemana said the project would last for one year but would roll in other projects that would help children to remain in school. Mr. Sulemana said, RAINS has extended its support to the Upper East Region due to the poverty levels and the incidence of child trafficking particularly in the Tono Dam project area to reduce it.

He said the NGO was exploring other avenues to extend to the Upper West Region to help education and poverty in those areas too. All the teachers expressed enthusiasm and goodwill in all the schools that Mr. Sulemana and Mr. Abdul Samed Seidu, a RAINS official visited and the showed commitment to help the project to be sustained. At the Gaani L/A primary school, Mr Mathew Ameba, the headmaster appealed to the NGO to adopt the school since all the children were prone to child trafficking and labour.

He said the community put up two classrooms two years ago but the rooms can not contain all the 198 children admitted in classes one and two thereby creating congestion compelling some of them to sit under trees.

He said if nothing was done about the situation parents would change their minds and withdraw their children from the school and send them to the farms, which would defeat the efforts of RAINS.

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