November 5 – 30, 2018
Service Project: Shai Hills, Ghana, Africa
Rachel Ledbetter, ’19
Rachel Ledbetter (IHS major and Art minor) volunteered at City of Refuge Ministries (CORM), a non-profit organization based in Ghana in May 2018. The team at CORM is passionate about rescuing children from slavery and providing them with a safe and fulfilling childhood. Ledbetter’s research focuses on the injustices perpetrated on individuals in Africa. Through photography and video, this exhibit documents the people from CORM and their stories.
Read Rachel’s blog about her experience:
Lake Volta is a man-made lake in Ghana built in the 1960s to create business opportunities for fishermen. This lake has an abundance of expensive fish to sell and profit from. Fishermen buy children from vulnerable mothers, promising care and education. In reality, the children are not educated, barely fed and forced into dangerous child labor. Many children grow up to be slave masters themselves.
In 2000, The Trafficking Victims Protection Act was passed officially prohibiting all forced labor, involuntary servitude, and sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion. As a result, rescuing children from Lake Volta became a legal process, but unfortunately human trafficking still continues today. Many fishermen do not realize that what they are doing is illegal. The government will carry out raids on the lake and rescue hundreds of children at a time. CORM partners with community leaders and International Justice Mission to rescue enslaved children.
The key to end human trafficking in the Lake Volta region is to begin with the mothers. The women often lack the necessary skills and income to adequately provide for multiple children forcing them to sell their children in the hopes that they will have a better life. CORM fosters women; teaching them sewing, literacy, cooking, and basic skills all while their children are attending school. After a few years, the women will graduate from this sponsorship program with proper skills, a sewing machine, a small stipend, and thus a business to sustain themselves and their children.
CORM fosters, feeds, and provides Christian based education for children rescued from slavery. There are approximately 70 children currently living in Children’s Village. Many of them will begin their education at age 13 since they spent their early childhood working on the lake. This year CORM will have their fourth graduating class. Many of these students will continue studying at the university level.
If you would like to volunteer, or donate to sponsor a child, please visit CORM’s website at: https://www.cityofrefugeoutreach.org