Children are not supposed to be exposed to labour which is beyond their mental and physical strength.

Hard labour deprives children of their potentials, dignity and sense of childhood life.

Child labour is a global concern because it endangers and destroys the future of children. In Ghana, it is equally a significant problem affecting two million children. Most of the fishing communities in the country have cases of child labour and Chorkor is not exempted.

Chorkor is a community in the Accra Metropolis district in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana, neighoured by suburbs Dansoman and Mamprobi. It falls within the Ablekuma South and it is a densely populated community with variety of ethnic groups, Ga being the largest.

The main source of income for the people is fishing. The women and female children also involve in fish mongering and smoking of fish.

Majority of the folks in the community depend solely on the sea to earn a living. However, the children at Chorkor are also exposed to fishing at a very young age.

Isaac Nii Aryee is not an exception. At age six, he started fishing even before his teenhood. He is now thirteen years old and has been fishing for the past seven years of his childhood life. Nii Aryee has acquired some great experiences in fishing. “I know all the techniques and styles in catching fish. I can do the netting, the angling and trapping of fish” he said.

Isaac said he is happy fishing because he gains a lot of money. In a week, he earns between three-hundred to four-hundred Ghana Cedis. He gives some of his money to his mother and interestingly, the thirteen-year old Isaac said he as well gives part of his money to his sixteen-year old girlfriend whom he calls his “wife”.

Fishing exposes one to the dangers of the sea, however, Isaac is not frightened. He of the faith that, he is a skilled swimmer and should any misfortune happens on the sea, he could swim to his safety.

Isaac dropped out of school while in class three and has no plans of going back. “I have no interest in going back to school, my teachers were always flogging me,” he said.

Fishing exposes the children to harsh weather condition which is very dangerous to their health and interferes with the proper physical and psychological development.

It also lures children out of school due to its lucrative nature. Isaac Nii Aryee is just one of the many kids at Chorkor who has substituted schooling with fishing.

The children are the future leaders of the country and formal education is as well one of the major factors for development. With our future leaders preferring fishing over schooling, the future of the country is at stake.

By: Cinderella Arhinful-Mensah
Student,GIJ

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