Francis is a cocoa farmer who used to use his children’s child labour, but has stopped thanks to the advice and support of World Vision child sponsorship staff.

Helping to earn the money for school

In Diaso, Ghana, a cocoa farmer named Francis tells us that seeing the effect child labour had on his children’s education helped the family find other solutions. He’s been farming cocoa since 1998, and at first, relied heavily on his children to help work on the farm. “But through the interventions and education given to us by World Vision, I don’t let my children work on the farm anymore. Now I work on the farm with my wife and also hire the services of elderly men to help.”

None of Francis’ three older daughters have completed school beyond the Junior High level, although the youngest, Sheila, 15, is still in school. Her older sister Mabel remembers when they used to work on the farm
“We used to help our father on the farm by fetching him water when it’s time to spray the farm with chemicals. We also helped in the harvesting of the cocoa when they mature. We usually spent four hours more when there were cocoa to harvest. The most difficult aspect of the farm was what we did - preparing the farm to plant the cocoa.”
The family farms plantain as well as cocoa on their four-acre farm, but cocoa is their main source of income. During an average year, they can expect to harvest up to 20 bags, each weighing 62 kilos and worth about USD $90.58
“There are times that we struggle with the farm,” Francis explains. “Sometimes we don’t have money to buy chemicals to spray the cocoa when they are maturing. It has been one of our challenges when it comes to buying
chemicals for insecticides and other cocoa diseases. But for the kids, we no longer use them on the farm.
Using the children on the farm affected their schooling. They missed instructional hours and thus delayed their education. My hope for my children now is to support them complete their education. So that they will get good jobs to do in future.”

Mabel with her father

Mabel dropped out of school after junior high, and now that she’s stopped working on the farm is hoping to open her own bakery. “Working on the farm affected my schooling,” she said. “I am very happy that my brothers would not have to come work on the farm. Because my siblings don’t have to work on the farm anymore, they will be able to focus on their studies, and it will help them improve and excel in future.” “I would plead with the cocoa buyers to buy the cocoa at a fair price so that our fathers can get enough money to support us.”

Our child sponsorship programmes address some of the root causes of child labour in communities – increasing family incomes, improving access to schools and helping keep children safe by strengthening child protection systems and ensuring that grownups and children alike are aware of their rights.