....to JusticeGhana Group

 Welcome to JusticeGhana

JusticeGhana is a Non-Governmental [and-not-for- profit] Organization (NGO) with a strong belief in Justice, Security and Progress....” More Details

'African Children Need More Support'


'African Children Need More Support' 

By BBC News Online's community affairs reporter Cindi John.

The little girl in the photo taped on the wall behind Debbie Ariyo's desk is not her own nine-year-old daughter, but eight-year old Victoria Climbie.

Victoria from Ivory Coast suffered months of abuse and neglect at the hands of her carers in the UK before her death in February 2000.

With her face battered and scarred, Victoria's picture is as far from a happy family portrait as you could possibly get.

But Debbie Ariyo said shocking though the photo is, that image and another of an African child sold into slavery sum up what her organisation - Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (Afruca) - is fighting against.

On Wednesday, Afruca is holding its first major conference to examine the challenges in the UK facing children newly arrived from Africa.

It will explore the roles of schools, social services and community groups in helping such children cope with their new lives.

Ms Ariyo said that as well as childcare experts and a Home Office representative the conference would also be attended by family members of some of the children in cases which led her to set up Afruca last year.

She said: "It was right after the death of Damilola Taylor and the conviction of the people who killed Victoria Climbie that I decided to do something to help.

"And also we had other children like Jude Akapa being attacked and killed.

Ms Ariyo added that as yet Afruca had not secured public funding and was being run by herself on a part-time basis with the support of volunteers.

Domestic servants

The Afruca conference comes in the wake of a report by for the British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering which suggested that up to 10,000 west African children were in private foster care.

Ms Ariyo, who is of Nigerian heritage, said private fostering arrangements were well established in African culture - she herself had been briefly put into foster care as a young child by her parents to enable them to study.

But she believed the practice was increasingly being abused by some Africans in the UK.

She said: "There are many Africans in this country who turn back to Africa to get help around the house in the form of a child.

"It's increasingly common for children to be turned into domestic servants."

Such cases as well as the growing trade in trafficking of young children for sexual exploitation would also be on the agenda of Wednesday's conference she added.

Ms Ariyo said a recurring theme to come from their consultation with members of the African community was the need for better support networks.

"The parents have to make ends meet, they have to combine so many jobs to make enough to look after themselves and their children.

"It means they're not always there for the children so if a particular child is having problems at school they might not realise."

Children also needed to be prepared better for their new environment and to face potential problems like the bullying experienced by Jude Akapa and others, Ms Ariyo added.

But Ms Ariyo said Afruca's most important task was to raise awareness of the problems within the African community and overcome pockets of resistance to talking openly about the difficult issues involved.

Credit BBC



 1000 Characters left

Antispam Refresh image Case sensitive

JusticeGhana Group *All Rights Reserved © 2007-2013*Privacy Policy