Vine Memorial School Heritage Club campaigns against child labour and slavery

“Selling sachet drinking water in the streets was the least among the expectations of 15-year old Posseh, (not her real name). In the process, a well-to-do man cleverly lured the innocent teenager into sleeping with him. She lost her dignity there and then.
As if that was not enough, her aunt threw her out of their home when she realized that she had lost her virginity.

The poor girl sought refuge in the home of a visually impaired octogenarian whose compassion forced him to return her to her caregiver. Although, he himself had wanted to keep the girl to aid his begging.

That situation was later aggravated when Posseh’s aunt forcefully sold her to an affluent man in the name of marriage. To say this act was done against Posseh’s wish is an understatement. She loathed the idea, wept bitterly whilst pleading with her aunt to reverse that decision.

In only 10 years, everything that once made Posseh the happy girl that she was had vanished. Her aunt had not only acted contrary to her initial promise but had reneged on her responsibility as a caregiver.

When she was five, Posseh’s aunt had adopted her from the village where she was living cheerfully with her mum and sisters. To convince the little girl’s parents, she promised her a life of heaven on earth. Unfortunately, she reduced her to the status of a child labourer and slave. But God’s plan for her was different.

How and why the enslaved Posseh metamorphosed into a Barrister still remains a mystery.”

Whilst the above does not represent any particular true life story, it however portrays the harsh realities of life for millions of children globally as epitomized in a short play by the Vine Memorial School Heritage Club.
The performance couldn’t have taken place in front of a better audience than pupils, teachers and parents.

Pupils need the awareness to build resilience, the parents want the education to raise the red flag whilst the teachers wish the knowledge is shared to reduce the incidents of modern slavery.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.7 requires States to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.

Sierra Leone’s Monuments and Relics Commission is collaborating with the Wilberforce Institute of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE), University of Hull, UK to raise awareness on these issues and build resilience.

The Wilberforce Institute of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) and the University of Hull are delighted to be working with Sierra Leonean students. “We greatly value your contributions. Only through working together can we have any hope of eradicating modern slavery – and only through education can we hope to change attitudes towards the exploitation of labour, human trafficking, and the safeguarding of children.”

Isatu Smith is the Chairperson of the Commission. She said that the issue of human trafficking and the worst forms of child labour are prevalent in Sierra Leone. In a bid to sensitize their disadvantaged peers, pupils show an immeasurable interest in doing role-plays. An activity of this nature will capture the attention and interest of the target audience as much as possible.

A report by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFT) shows an overwhelming 71.6 percent of children between the ages of 5-14 years are working, either in paid or unpaid work in Sierra Leone.

“Educating children about the ills of child labour is pivotal to reducing the act,” remarked Vice Principal of the Vine Memorial Secondary School for Girls, Mr Abdulai Anthony Macarthy.

The Heritage Club of Vine Memorial School concluded their performance with a slogan-STOP CHILD SLAVERY NOW.
Delighted about their performance, the whole school expressed determination to speak against issues of child trafficking, labour and slavery.

Education and Outreach Unit
Monuments and Relics Commission
23 Pultney Street

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