SOS Children’s Villages Ghana, a non- governmental organisation, has organised an educational trip to the University of Ghana for 1,000 children from nine different schools at Chorkor, a slum community in Accra.
The schools include Hijaz Islamic Basic School, Dr. F. V Nanka Bruce JHS, Chorkor Presby Primary School, Korle-Gonno Methodist School, Chenmunaa Basic School, Mamprobi South 4 and Socco Basic.
The excursion was part of the NGO’s ‘End Child Marriage Now’ project which is being implemented in partnership with the Canada Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI) under the Canadian High Commission in Ghana.
The project seeks to, among other things; promote higher education in the slum community, particularly girl child education.
According to the Chorkor Programme Coordinator at SOS Children’s Villages Ghana, Ms. Sheila Botwe, the excursion was part of efforts to generate their interest in higher education because they had the right to education.
She said SOS-CV Ghana believed that the opportunity to education should be created for all, irrespective of gender and social status.
According to Ms. Botwe, the educational trip was to give the students an insight into higher education as a way of motivating them to strive to achieve greater heights.
“The Chorkor community is such that less emphasis is placed on girl child education and the spate of teenage pregnancies, abortions, school drop-outs among other social vices,” she said.
She said that the organisation believed that by sensitising children and the youth on the need to pursue higher education, they would be motivated to develop their skills through higher education.
Mrs. Botwe said the organisation prides itself as a strong advocate of child welfare in communities where it operated outreach programmes for vulnerable communities nationwide.
“We acknowledge that the upsurge of forced and early child marriages in most local communities like Chorkor, comes up as one of the major challenges faced by school going children below the ages of 18 and research indicates that this can highly be attributed to ignorance and poverty,” she said.
Ms. Botwe attributed the low female education in the community to some traditional beliefs, gender discrimination, teenage pregnancy and the quest to protect family image.
She said early and forced child marriages on young girls formed part of domestic violence and sexual exploitation which, the law frowned upon and called for an end to such practices.
As part of the day’s activities, the children toured various departments of the country’s premier university including the Blame Library, some lecture halls including the Legon Hall, Mensah Sarbah Hall and interacted with some students and staff.
The children, who were excited by the experience of visiting a university premises, asked several questions bordering on the requirements to gaining admission and the benefits of higher education.