The Heartbeat for Africa (HBA) Foundation has developed a strategic relationship with the “City of Refuge Outreach” in the Volta Lake Region of Ghana called “Hands with Hope”. This program aims to support children rescued from modern-day slavery and given a home and education. Johnbull and Stacy Omorefe established the City of Refuge with a mission to liberate these children from the terrible life imposed upon them by fisherman on the Lake Volta (click here to donate to Hands with Hope). They strive to educate others about human trafficking and motivate individuals and groups to get involved in stopping this injustice towards the vulnerable.
The villages surrounding Lake Volta are plagued by poverty, waterborne diseases, malaria and illiteracy. These misfortunes often lead to an increase in orphans, abandoned children and even children sold into forced labor. These children are especially vulnerable to exploitation in the fishing communities. Children are not often valued beyond their ability to provide immediate income and as a result are not given the opportunity to fulfill their lifelong potential. Trafficked and at-risk children need safety so they may grow into dynamic and caring members of society. They need someone to advocate for them, as they are unable to voice their own right to freedom. Many of these children need treatment for disease and rehabilitation from psychological and physical abuse.
We see the issue of trafficking in Ghana in two distinct ways, through “sending communities” in which children are purchased (usually from single mothers with little means to take care of their children) and in the “receiving communities” where the children are taken to work. Because of these two sides of the issue of trafficking, the City of Refuge seeks to not only rescue trafficked, orphaned and abandoned children, but also seeks to educate, disciple and create sustainable jobs for both the sending and the receiving communities of Ghana.
Below is a video of Kessey, a young boy liberated children from modern-day slavery and given a home and education at the City of Reguge. He tells of his experiences on the lake Volta and urges parents to keep from being deceived by the fishermen to release their children to these fishermen as fishing apprentices.