Meeting My Children’s Needs After Galamsey

“I started ‘galamsey’ in Wasa when I was a teenager. One day I went out to do ‘galamsey’ with my best friend and unfortunately, she fell into a pit and did not survive. I saw my best friend crushed into a deep galamsey pit and died. I was traumatized, devastated, and confused as I watched her die helplessly in the pit. From that day, I vowed never to do galamsey again,”  Leticia told Self-Help International (SHI).

‘Galamsey’ is the term used to describe illegal gold mining in Ghana. It is very destructive and dangerous. Many youth have been lost, and farmlands and water bodies have been destroyed by the associated pollution. Unfortunately, galamsey is a financially attractive option for the youth due to high unemployment rates and a ready market for gold. Due to it’s harsh environmental impacts, it is also  a threat to Ghana’s food security.

When Leticia quitpracticing illegal mining, she relocated to Opanin Adusei village near Ama Badu to live with her husband, Tawiah.

Leticia with her children

Leticia tells SHI that her husband does not have a land of his own and depends solely on friends for land for cultivation to feed the familya situation which makes it difficult for him to cultivate large acreages. Leticia and Tawiah have four children of their own, and are also caring for two of Leticia’s nieces and one orphan from a nearby village who all live with them. Four of the children are currently benefitting from the SHI School Feeding Program at Ama Badu D/A Basic School: their son, Clement (8 years old, Class 1), daughter Erica (6 years old, KG1) and nieces Doreen and Sarah.

Leticia shared that the feeding program has been very helpful to her entire family. “Getting money for these children to go to school every day would have been difficult for ourfamily. The porridge they consume in the school has been a driving force and a motivating factor in the lives of the children. Whether I am able to provide them with money [for lunch] or not, they are eager to go to school. My children are always happy, although the distance from our community to the school is far, they do not want to miss school and the porridge.”

She again said that her children even want to go to school when they are sick because they don’t want to miss the breakfast porridge. Anytime the children return from school and porridge was not served, she could tell from their facial expressions. They would look moody, tired and agitated. On the other hand, if they returned playful and jubilant that they had received a healthy breakfast porridge that day. “My family is very grateful to Self Help International for assisting poor families such as ours.

Clement and Erica

Leticia is a school dropout, a situation she bemoans always. She laments, “I attended school up to primary three (third grade). I become worried anytime I see my colleagues who were fortunate to continue their education to higher levels and the kind of life they live. I have decided to work hard to ensure that my kids go to school to the highest level. I do not want any of them to end up in a village like myself. I want them to mature and be proud of us, their parents. Although their father never went to school, he is ever ready to assist in their upbringing. I am thankful for having a caring and understanding husband.

Thank you for your support of the school feeding program, which ensures that children like Clement, Erica, Doreen and Sarah get the nutrition they need to learn in school now, and develop healthy brains and bodies to earn the education Leticia dreams of for them. You truly give mothers hope and children health.  Thank you for all your support!