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How donors are helping protect children from abuse

POSTED July 20, 2017

How donors are helping protect children from abuse

CCFC has partnered with UNICEF to make school a safer place in 60 communities in Ghana

By William Anim-Dankwa, CCFC communications manager, Ghana

Kofi Ghana

I’m standing in the middle of a large, dusty schoolyard talking to a slim boy named Kofi. He looks up at me shyly and says: “I was once beaten severely by my teacher. He was angry, because I came to school late.”

Kofi doesn’t talk much about how he was beaten, but I’ve been told it left large, painful bruises on both hands that took more than a week to heal. During that time, school authorities did nothing. The teacher, who has since left the school, wasn’t disciplined, and Kofi returned to class the next day. That was three years ago.

A bell rings for the morning assembly, and Kofi turns away to join his friends. The warm, friendly laughter among classmates reflects a positive change that can be seen in dozens of schools in Ghana, thanks to caring donors to Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC).

Since 2011, CCFC and UNICEF have been working together to create school and community child-protection committees in 60 communities and to raise awareness about a child’s right to be safe from violence. Without this support, many children in Ghana would still be in harm’s way at school.

The last UNICEF national study on violence against women and children revealed 61 percent of Ghanaians believe beating children is acceptable.

In the past six years, child-protection committees, made up of students, teachers and parent committee members, have helped end the abuse of more than 100 children through community and school interventions. Now teachers are told how to provide appropriate discipline, and abuse is reported to authorities.

Back at the school, an assembly finishes and the voices of children singing “we are marching to our classes,” can be heard faintly as a bright red, yellow and green Ghana flag flutters on a bamboo pole in the empty schoolyard.

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