It was just over eleven years ago that Pam Cope stepped into a small boat and made her way to an island community in the Lake Volta region of Ghana. The issue of slavery and human trafficking was suddenly no longer a story, no longer a newspaper article – these were real boys and girls who had been sold to fishing masters. These children were kept from their families, kept from school, and were often abused. And it is still happening. Research from the United Nations in 2017 shows that “more than half of the children working on and around the lake were born in other communities and many of these children are subjected to forced labor, not allowed to attend school, given inadequate housing and clothing, and are controlled by fishermen through intimidation, violence, and limiting access to food. Boys as young as five years old are forced to work in hazardous conditions, including deep diving, and many suffer water-born infections; girls perform work on shore such as cooking, cleaning fish, and preparing fish for market, and are vulnerable to sexual abuse.” After eleven years in Ghana, working closely with abolitionists and Ghanaian Social Services, it is clear that Touch A Life’s role […]
This year 26 Touch A Life students graduated from secondary school, which is the equivalent of middle school in the United States. October began the new trimester for school and all 26 passed the entrance exams to begin high school! In Ghana, it is customary to send high school-aged children to boarding school, so these students will be spending most of their time at school and coming home to the Care Center during school breaks and holidays. The Touch A Life team is incredibly proud of these students and how they have continued to meet their goals. Our leadership team met with each student individually this week to talk about future education and career plans. Everyone left feeling inspired! Now you have a chance to make all of these plans come to life: 20 17 of our new high school students need Education Sponsors. You or your community can support a formerly trafficked child as they pursue their education with a donation of $125 each month, or $1,500 each year. Click here to learn more about Education Sponsorship.
In September 2012, 50 Touch A Life children moved to their new home at the Touch A Life Care Center. With dormitory-style housing, a kitchen, a dining hall, and a director’s house, the Care Center became the first long-term care facility specifically for child trafficking survivors in all of West Africa. Thanks to generous Legacy Partners, our Care Center has continued to be a safe and stable home for the Touch A Life kids. Full time Ghanaian house parents love each child as their own, getting every student ready for school and taking care of practical everyday needs. Staff cooks prepare nutritious meals from locally-sourced ingredients, some even coming directly from the Care Center garden. The Care Center has grown over the past five years as we added Connor Creative Art Center, Seth’s Social Center, Zachary’s House, an outdoor classroom, and a multi-purpose building. And our Touch A Life family has grown as well, with 30 new children joining us over the past five years. Our established partnership with Ghanaian Social Services and the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit has made it possible for Touch A Life to focus primarily on the holistic survivor care for each child. […]
Our third annual yoga retreat was held at the Touch A Life Care Center earlier this month. Nana, our Life Academy Director is also the owner of Bliss Yoga Studio in Accra, and we were honored that she, along with some of the Bliss instructors, made time in their schedules to share yoga with the Touch A Life kids. Joan Schubert traveled with Nana from Accra to help lead yoga sessions with the Touch A Life kids. Joan works for an international NGO based in DC and she is currently on contract in Ghana as the Director of a five-year national public health and communications project that addresses issues concerning malaria, maternal and child health, water and sanitation, reproductive health, and nutrition. “The thing that I found amazing about the trip to Kumasi and the children there was how easy it was to engage them and their limitless imagination,” said Joan. “They took to the yoga like fish to water and as we had them do various asanas such as cat/cow, lion, cobra and eagle we had them make the animal sounds. We even […]
The August team delivered new clothes and new crocs for every child at our Care Center in Kumasi. The crocs were donated by The Branch Church in Farmer’s Branch, TX and the clothes were donated by many supporters using the Touch A Life Amazon Smile wish list! Each of the boys received a new polo shirt, and each of the girls received a t-shirt dress to wear. […]
The kids at the Touch A Life Care Center in Ghana participated in a mid-year art contest this summer! Kwame, our Art Center Director, gave the theme of mosaic and each of the kids got started cutting tiny pieces of colored paper to make their beautiful creations. Connor Creative Art Center was buzzing all day! The first prize winner was Freeman who received an MP4 player as the grand prize! Prince and Benjamin came in second and third place and received MP3 players. The competition brought out the best in all of our kids!
For anyone who visits the Touch A Life Care Center in Kumasi, the sewing shop at Zachary’s House is the perfect place to relax and pick out a handmade gift to bring home. While most of Zachary’s House serves as a dorm for the youngest 12 Touch A Life girls, the room on the corner is home to Hawa’s sewing studio and a shop to display the newest products made with batik fabric and beads. The Summer Collegiate Interns led a design overhaul of the sewing studio and shop this month. Touch A Life students pitched in to paint a mural, and the interns took time to set up a new product display. A ribbon cutting ceremony with Touch A Life’s Executive Director, Jan Osborn, officially opened the new space! Not only is this a bright new space for visitors and shoppers, but also a peaceful retreat for the Touch A Life staff and children that is dripping with creativity.
The Touch A Life Summer Collegiate Internship program is underway! Six college students from around the country have been working on programs, parties, and product development as they prepare for an 18-day trip to Ghana this July. Keep reading to learn more about each of our interns. They will be contributing to our Care Center blog throughout their trip, so check back later this month! Emily Sherrill My name is Emily Sherrill, and I am from Jonesboro, Arkansas. I am currently a sophomore nursing major at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. I love to travel, play sports, and read. Most of my favorite books are missionary autobiographies, which inspire me to continue pursuing Christ and follow the dream He has laid on my heart. After graduating college, I would love to either be a medical missionary to Africa or travel the world as a disaster relief nurse. I have known about Touch A Life for many years now and am excited for the opportunity to work with them in Ghana this summer! While I have been to Africa twice in the past few years, this will be my first time to visit Ghana! I am looking forward to learning […]
One of our recent projects for our Global Family was creating pages for our kids to put in their new scrapbooks! This summer the 8×8 inch pages will travel to Ghana and each child will have the opportunity to create more scrapbook pages and complete their book. Full of memories from the past two years, every child will be able to look back and remember all of the fun moments with friends and visitors. Two groups in particular helped us complete encouraging scrapbook pages for each of our kids! Samantha Anderson, her daughters Julia and Alex, and their good friend and Touch A Life supporter, Christine, spent several days working on the scrapbook project. Together they made over 80 pages filled with photos, stickers, and notes filled with love all the way from New Jersey. Samantha traveled to Ghana this past August, and she can’t wait to return with her daughters in the future. The staff at Revenue Edge also made pages for every child at the Touch A Life Care Center in Kumasi. Stacy Westbay, owner of Revenue Edge, traveled to Ghana in January of 2016 and later helped fund the […]
Today we are introducing a brand new collection of products! This limited edition collection is made with batik fabric handmade at the Touch A Life Care Center. The fabric was then sent to Re:new Project in Chicago where it was transformed into beautiful bags, wallets, and notebook covers by women who are refugees in the United States. Re:new’s mission is to create a space for refugee women to thrive. Through their Artisan Development Programs and Care Services, Re:new offers free vocational training followed by employment in creating quality handbags and accessory items. They used upcycled fabrics, thus providing sustainable income in a flexible environment. They also foster a safe, nurturing environment based on the values of dignity, respect, peace, kindness, gentleness, creativity and fun as a means to open space to care well for the social and emotional wounds caused by years of survival. Just like Re:new, Touch A Life provides a safe place for vulnerable people to thrive. The Touch A Life Care Center is home to 80 children who have been rescued from forced labor and exploitation. Some of the children who are interested in making batik fabric, will help with the dyeing and ironing after school. Emmanuel, Touch A Life’s Art […]