My name is Jennifer Obeng. I am the founder of Global Givers Action Foundation located in Atlanta, Georgia USA. I am a full-time professional nurse but I have a competent team of dedicated people who help manage my day-to-day task of growing my non-profit organization. Global Givers Action Foundation is IRS 501c3 Tax Deductible for donors and the EIN Number is 83-0653637.
My story began when I was growing up in Kumasi, Ghana. I was always involved in helping poor and needy people in my neighborhood. During my teenage years, I used my spare-time to support orphans and widows through our local Presbyterian church. On Sunday mornings, Sunday-School was my go-to-platform to meet and greet people who had become part of my extended family. Sunday-School was the perfect time for these people to share stories about their struggles.
I then decided to move to the United States to pursue my education and return to Ghana where I could build community development programs and become an educator. Fast forward, when I arrived in the United States, I studied nursing so I could very quickly get a job and pay back my student loans. I am now stuck in the United States happily married with four children…but my grandmother always tells me the road to a strong vision is never a straight line.
I am living a fantastic life here in the United States volunteering and supporting other families who need help but, I want to continue to help orphans, widows, child labor victims in particularly, because child labor is against international human rights law. Children don’t have to work but go to school but this is opposite in some parts of Ghana and Ivory Coast.
The United States is a generous country and its citizens are supportive of this gracious culture of giving so I founded my non-profit foundation and named it Global Givers Action Foundation. I have received enormous support from friends and volunteers both in the United States and Ghana. There are so many people who are willing to help and that has encouraged me to continue working new plans and finding ways to raise funds.
Currently, my team is working with local community leaders and non-profits in cocoa plantation villages in Ivory Coast and Ghana. This special project called “Rescue Chocolate Slaves Project”. There are hundreds of thousands of child labor victims trapped in what I called “Chocolate Slavery” cocoa plantations in Ghana and Ivory Coast. Ghana and Ivory Coast, together produce nearly 60% of the world’s cocoa each year, but latest estimates found 2 million children engaged in hazardous work on cocoa farms in these two countries.
We are now focusing on this project and directing resources in this area because most of child labor victims are children without education and half of them without parents. Cocoa beans production and the general chocolate industry have several sustainability problems that can cripple chocolate production within the next 20 years without proper sustainability management. As more and more cocoa farm areas youthful strong men and women leave their parents farms for the cities, orphans and child labor victims are replaced as slave workers. This trend is accelerating because of urbanization in both Ghana and Ivory Coast.
The Mission of Chocolate Slave Project
The core mission of this project is to successfully rescue child labor workers on cocoa farms using Tableau Software geo-spatial analytics technology that tracks cocoa farms on a map for us to find the primary farm owners. Our strategic intent is to normalize environmental conditions for owners of cocoa farms to start paying regular farm workers more so that we will supply their villages with imported food, wells, building materials, beds, furniture, clothing, television sets, motorbikes, bicycles, farm equipment, fabrics, sewing machines, construction materials, portable lanterns, batteries, flashlights, radios, cellphones, fans, generators, tires etc. etc. We are talking about donating used household items and food to influence cocoa farm owners to replace children workers with adult farm workers.
We believe that when life in these village communities get better, young men and women between the ages of 20-30 years will not leave the for the cities, but stay and get marry because they have most of the social amenities they see on television with city dwellers. Harvesting cocoa beans happens twice a year so if we can get more supplies of these used items listed above to local villages and change the mindset of youth including cocoa farm owners to stop child labor practices, we have scored 90 percent of our mission.
We have seen children performing various tasks that support cocoa production throughout the cocoa lifecycle, including weeding, and helping to plant and harvest food crops. Children, mostly girls, also carry water and firewood, help with cooking, and care for younger siblings while their parents work on the cocoa farms. The most serious problem concerning these children is lack of education. They don’t go to school.
There are several studies that indicate that working in cocoa farms is arduous and often needs to be done fast and efficiently during the harvesting seasons, requiring long hours, making the work particularly challenging for children who don’t wear shoes, mask and gloves and also feel very hungry during the day when the temperatures sour. Activities performed by children include clearing land, using sharp tools such as machetes to open cocoa pods, and carrying heavy loads.
The worst forms of child labor, related to cocoa production, are using children as slaves or in debt bondage, trafficking them, and forcing them to do hazardous work, which includes using dangerous machinery or tools, manually transporting heavy loads, working with hazardous agents or working long hours. As culturally ingrained as the use of machetes is, it’s one of the main factors that makes the process of cocoa farming dangerous for children. The Tulane survey found that 71% of children working in cocoa were exposed to sharp tools, and in Ivory Coast 37% of kids farming cocoa had suffered “wounds” or “cuts.”
On average, cocoa farmers earn less than $2 per day, an income below the poverty line. As a result, they often resort to the use of child labor to keep their prices competitive. The children of Western Africa are surrounded by intense poverty, and most begin working at a young age to help support their families. Mars, Nestlé and Hershey pledged nearly two decades ago to stop using cocoa harvested by children. Yet much of the chocolate you buy still starts with child labor. Behind much of the world’s chocolate is the work of thousands of impoverished children on West African cocoa farms.
The average cocoa farm will produce one or two tons of cocoa beans a year; one ton is 16 sacks of cocoa. The average farmer will make between $1,400-$2,000 profit a year, at most about $5 a day, which will need to support 6-10 siblings.
Got some free time? A week? A month? A summer?
You can either volunteer by just telling us where to get used goods that we will prepare 501c3 Receipts to cover cost of everything or if you have any used household goods that you need to sell or donate, please contact us for just market price of your goods. We also accept cash donations that helps us transport these items to villages.
Or if you’re busy now, cheer us on from the sidelines.
If our organization sounds like something that you too would take pleasure in being a part of — whether by participating actively or cheering us on from the sidelines — I urge you to visit us on Facebook, Instagram and please like our page and share it to your friends.