Former child labourer Samuel Asare is 18 years old and is now attending school do to Oxfam IBIS' project with Toms Chocolate in Ghana. - Photo: Bertil Suadicani

Working alongside the business community, we are building strong partnerships in the local communities where companies operate and may thus contribute to bringing about innovative solutions, good schools and jobs for the world’s poorest

Toms Chocolate

In Ghana, we have just completed a three-year joint project with chocolate manufacturer Toms about fighting child labour and ensuring sustainable chocolate production. Farmers in 30 communities have learned how to improve their yields. And we have supported them in eradicating child labour.

For example, the locals now get a higher price for their cocoa, if their children go to school. The quality of teaching in local schools has been raised, while parents have been involved in combating child labour in the community.

And it has paid off. The proportion of children doing excessive labour has fallen from 9.8 percent in 2013 to 1.5 percent at the end of 2015.In fact, Samuel began school again and again in the course of his childhood, but dropped out every time.

No More Working in the Field

His long limbs do not really fit under the small desk. Nevertheless, former child labourer Samuel Asare enjoys being at school, despite being several years older and a whole head taller than his classmates. Because this 18-year-old young man is quite clear about why he is here.

“In the modern world, you need an education to make it in life. I saw others of my age who could speak English and do lots of other stuff, because they’d gone to school. I wanted to learn that too,” he explains.

“All morning, I used to work in the cocoa plantation, and in the afternoon, I’d work at home. I was always exhausted, and my body was aching. So I never got to do my homework,” he recounts.

Last year, Samuel’s father was contacted by the local child protection council, which has been set up as part of the project in Ghana sponsored by the Danish chocolate manufacturer Toms. The council is composed of committed citizens, namely parents and teachers, who inform the community about the importance of going to school. They managed to convince Samuel’s father that he had to give priority to his son’s education.

“The best part of being in school is to see how happy my mates are when they play. And the worst part is when I have to help cut the grass. It reminds me of my time in the field,” says Samuel Asare.