Rescued children learn life skills for personal health, safety and self-control

As we rehabilitate children rescued from slave labour on Lake Volta, staff at our Hovde House shelter continuously works on behaviour management and discipline as children get ready to go back to their communities. As part of this process, officials from governmental agencies come to the shelter to speak to children about real-life issues and potential problems they could face.

Staff from Ghana’s Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DVVSU) arrived at the shelter to speak about behaviours that are not acceptable in society. They made the children aware that even minors can be sent to juvenile court and can be convicted of crimes that send them to correctional facilities that will work on changing negative behaviours.

These are important warnings for some of the more rambunctious children at the shelter, so that those who are ready to go home will be careful and behave once they are reintegrated. While Challenging Heights staff continues to monitor children once they’re back at home, arming them with knowledge and warnings for the future may help instil discipline for a positive path as the children grow older.

Another future-building session came from Ghana Health Services. Three members of staff spoke to our rescued children, aged 12 and older. They discussed adolescent health issues and behaviours to control as the children grow. These topics include sexually transmitted infections, to early pregnancy and general health concerns that could arise in the years to come.

One staff member reminded the children to use protection any time they feel they are ready to engage sexually. If problems arise and they need to seek medical care, it’s important that their partners also get checked out and treated as necessary. The children were warned about yeast infections and how to stay clean and healthy. They were also told that if they are shy to find treatment or prevention methods at a neighbourhood pharmacy, there are health centres available that can provide important contraception or treatment products.

Throughout the detailed discussions, the staff also reminded the children how many of them ended up where they are. They expressed a shared experience, acknowledging that “many of us suffer” because mothers didn’t take the time to plan their lives. Young women often have no solid way to earn a living before they gave birth, and oftentimes had more children than they could handle, so they were not able to take care of the children properly. Struggles like that lead to child trafficking and poverty. The children at Hovde House are given knowledge and tools to create successful futures for themselves and their own families.