Ghana marks world day against child labour
World Day Against Child Labour has been marked at the Teachers' Hall in Accra. The celebration was on the theme; 'Warning! Children in Hazardous Work: End Child Labour'. World Day Against Child Labour,which is celebrated on 12th June each year, was initiated by the International Labour Organization(ILO) in 2002 as a way to highlight the plight of children in child labour. This year's event was jointly organized by the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare and International Labour Organization.
In a short remarks, a representative from Organized Labour called on government to create employment opportunities for adults.This in his view,will make them earn income to help their children. He stressed on the need for children to be educated and child traffickers to be dealt with in accordance with the laws of Ghana.
In a speech read on her behalf, Hon. Juliana Azumah Mensah,Minister for Women and Children's Affairs, showed that it is everyone's responsibility to assist children; citing the theme for the event as appropriate. She revealed what her ministry has done so far to implement the Human Trafficking Act of Ghana(Act 694).
As the programme progressed, Master Dominic Mpraim, an Ex-child worker, shared his experience. Dominic is 15years old and in class one. At age five, his parents gave him to a fisherman in exchange for 50,000 cedis(GHC50). He was sent to Yeji, a fishing community along the Volta lake of Ghana. According to Dominic, he was made to work all day-disentangling entangled nets in the lake,mending fishing nets,farming and other related activities. Dominic said he was rescued by Challenging Heights,a non-governmental organization, few years ago and has since been in school. He called on stake holders to get to the aid of other children who find themselves in similar situations.
Master Kwaku Marfo,who represented Ghanaian children at the programme, called for respect of child rights and the need for children to be given the platform to participate in activities that concern them. There were poetry recitals and other performances from children.
The event was also used to launch the National Plan of Action(NPA) for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Ghana(2009-2015) and the ILO Convention No. 138 on the Minimum Age of Employment. Delivering the Keynote Address,Professor Kofi Awoonor,President of Ghana's Council of state, called on District Assemblies and other concerned institutions to work with the Plan of Action in order to bring a halt to child labour in Ghana.
In attendance were Hon. Antwi Boasiko-Sekyere, Deputy Minister of Employment and Social Welfare,Professor Kofi Awoonor,President of Council of State and Dr. Iyabode Olusanmi,UNICEF Country Representative. Others include, Ambassador Donald Teitelbaum,US Ambassador to Ghana, Mrs Akua Ofori- Asumadu, ILO Representative,young people's advocacy groups and school children.
Photo Credits: Flickr/Creative Commons