The month of October is dedicated to the Christian Missions worldwide and this year St. Margaret College Secondary School; Verdala students join Missio Malta in aid of vulnerable poor children in Ghana. On Monday October 19, 2020, senior teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc launched a missionary campaign at school inviting his students to do a research study project about child poverty in Ghana and join the Missio Malta fundraising campaign in aid of vulnerable poor children, especially those of Nazareth Catholic Home in Ghana led by Sr. Stan Therese Mumini.
Teacher Martin said that “the purpose of this school research study project is to understand the complexity of child poverty in Ghana and encourage students to be participants and not just spectators in this missionary campaign led by Missio Malta”.
According to https://www.unicef.org/ghana/reports/multi-dimensional-child-poverty-ghana three-in-four children (73.4 %) in Ghana are identified as multi-dimensionally poor, facing at least three deprivations at the same time. Rural children show significantly higher multi-dimensional deprivation rates in comparison to urban children (81.5 % versus 62.5 %, respectively).
On paper, the Constitution of Ghana offers its country children their proper rights but in reality the situation is still too far away from legal guidelines and normal expectations.
On consulting https://www.humanium.org/en/ghana/ St. Margaret College students found that in Ghana one in ten children is underweight and so child malnutrition is affecting the learning ability and immune system of many children. In fact mortality rate of children in Ghana (under the age of five) is still high, especially during the first 28 days of newborns. In this regard, anaemia is one of the main causes.
Increasing child vaccination in Ghana can ensure children’s immunity to the most common diseases which affect children in both densely populated and remote areas.
Although in Ghana 87% of boys and 86% of girls complete their primary school education, only 58% of boys and 57% of girls complete their secondary school education. Also, girls have more difficulties in completing their secondary school education when compared to boys although literacy rate for women (84%) is higher than that of men (74%). Apart from these facts, teaching and learning conditions in Ghana are still poor and very often children learn in overcrowded classes with lack of materials. (See: https://www.humanium.org/en/ghana/)
Another issue is that in Ghana 25% of children are exploited to do forced labour: mostly in agriculture, others in industry. In cities, children end up working as street vendors, polishing shoes, working in restaurants and carrying parcels while in rural areas they end up cultivating crops, taking care of cattle, fishing and carrying stones. (See: https://www.humanium.org/en/ghana/)
Moreover, in the north of Ghana, ancient traditions and rituals have led to ritual killings of children, mostly those suffering from a disability. The killing of disabled children in Ghana is very often due to the belief that they are possessed by an evil spirit which brings bad luck to those around them. In fact, this sort of ignorance is leading to the killing of many disabled children each year by these obscure rituals.
However, one of the major problems in Ghana is human trafficking, mostly affecting girls aged 7 to 16 and boys aged 10 to 17. Due to human trafficking, boys end up working illegally in mines, cocoa plantations or in the fishing industry. Girls normally end up serving in domestic labour. (See: https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and analysis/tip/2021/GLOTiP_2020_15jan_web.pdf)
While successes are to be recognized, it is important to highlight the fact that without more investment from both government and foreign aid, child poverty in Ghana will remain a serious issue. Thus St. Margaret College students unite with Missio Malta to create awareness about child poverty in Ghana and encourage others to contribute to the fundraising campaign in aid of vulnerable poor children.
This school project aims to reach seven of the main goals proposed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Reduced Inequalities, and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.