Rescuing children from slavery on Lake Volta is only the first step in a long, and sometimes difficult, journey to recovery. Here at Challenging Heights, not only do we rescue children, we have an outstanding shelter at the Hovde House where the children are able to begin schooling and have access to therapies and counselling. It is here that we begin reuniting the children with their parents and assess the living situations that they will be moving to once they have progressed through their healing.
But we don’t just send the children on their way after leaving the Hovde House either. We follow up with them for a couple of years, making sure they are supported through their reintegration to their schools and communities and help them through any difficulties they may encounter.
Just this last week, we met with the groups of children who have been reintegrated to talk to them about school vacation; this will be the first school vacation ever for some of them. They had a lot to tell us about their first school term, including exams and what it’s like being at home.
Many of our reintegrated children felt well prepared for school and their exams. A few shared their feelings about feeling inadequate in certain subjects, particularly maths. But, our very capable Reintegration Officers, Alfred and Anita, helped them to understand that we all have things that we struggle with, and that we just need to keep working and keep practicing to get better and more comfortable. We had a chance to check out the report cards for our students and we are very pleased by the number of students doing well in so many subjects. This way we will also be able to pair up students to help each other in the subjects that they are weaker in.
Alfred and Anita also spent some time discussing with the children productive ways to spend their school vacation. They encouraged them to continue studying so that they wouldn’t forget everything they learned when the new term starts in three weeks. The children were also warned against going to the fishing beaches, roaming around the town and going off into the bush to search for mangoes, as these kinds of activities aren’t particularly safe. Together, they brainstormed good places to go and activities to do over the coming weeks. Looking out for each other and making sure that they all go back to school when the next term starts up was included on that list of things for them to do.
We are extremely proud of the progress that so many of our rescued children have made and we are very excited to watch them as they continue to excel in school and beyond.