The City of Refuge Children’s Village outside of Tema, Ghana is a safe house for children rescued from child labor camps. I was fortunate to spend 24 hours there this past fall. Began in 2007 by Johnbull and Stacy Omorefe, the village and school are supported by an incredible cadre of teachers, caregivers, and volunteers. The school is attended by many living in the surrounding area, and the dorms are steadily filling with those who once worked as modern day child slaves for fisherman in the Lake Volta region of Ghana. Slavery is certainly not legal in Ghana, but it is ignored. Most times it is a child being given by their family, often a single mom, to a fisherman, or to a household, as collateral on a loan. A few years later, after the child has worked off the loan, he or she may or may not even be able to go home… either way their childhood is already gone; their education is already wasted. So who do they become? What is their limit? What could possibly be their potential? When a child is rescued, or has completed their dutiful years, often their family is unavailable, unable, or unwilling to let them return home… maybe there never was a home. Some children end up on the street, some never stop working, and some are fortunate to find grace, find shelter, find education and opportunity in places like City of Refuge.
Fuji X-Pro1 w/ 18mm & 35mm lenses