Context: Ghana is a source and destination country for trafficking: the practice of buying and selling children that leads to the worst forms of child labor and exploitation. The minimum age when children can work legally in Ghana is 16. However, more than 26% of children in Ghana ages 5 -14 work illegally. Currently over 56% of young people who graduate from elementary and middle school (which are free) are not able to enroll in secondary schools due to their parents’ inability to pay fees and overriding interest in having their children contribute to family income instead.
Organization: Challenging Heights was founded in 2003 to help rescue, rehabilitate and provide education for young people who have been trafficked or have experienced the worst forms of child labor. CH also supports at-risk and poor families to ensure that young people are protected from trafficking and child labor through education. CH does community and government level advocacy, training for children and parents on child rights and health, and also helps families improve their income levels so that returned trafficked children can attend school. These actions help communities to reject the sale and exploitation of children.
Current Grant: With EMpower’s fourth grant, Challenging Heights will increase employment and education opportunities for youth affected by child labour who have dropped out of or missed several years of school, and intensify efforts at youth-related policy reform.