MUNTAKA CHASANT
PEOPLE & STORIES
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A Child Labour Scene

It was late May 2020, on a cold, rainy afternoon, in an area once rated alongside Chernobyl. ‘Akufo-Addo,’ 8-years-old, stood on e-waste heap from discarded computer parts and broken cathode-ray tube (CRT) glasses in the rain. Born Kevin Twum Barimah, he’s nicknamed after Ghana’s current president due to their uncanny resemblance. Akufo-Addo cannibalizes from discarded […]

May 28, 2020

May 28, 2020

14 Min read time

Child labour: An 8-year-old urban poor boy nicknamed after Ghana's current president is working in the rain. 'Akufo-Addo' is engaged in hazardous child labour in Accra, Ghana's capital city. Behind him: Debrah, 15 years old, had just smashed a CRT TV against a rock to recover the iron materials inside. Nearly 2 million children in Ghana are in child labour. More than 70 million children worldwide are in hazardous child labour, ILO estimates show. © 2020 Muntaka Chasant

It was late May 2020, on a cold, rainy afternoon, in an area once rated alongside Chernobyl. ‘Akufo-Addo,’ 8-years-old, stood on e-waste heap from discarded computer parts and broken cathode-ray tube (CRT) glasses in the rain. Born Kevin Twum Barimah, he’s nicknamed after Ghana’s current president due to their uncanny resemblance. Akufo-Addo cannibalizes from discarded […]

It was late May 2020, on a cold, rainy afternoon, in an area once rated alongside Chernobyl.

‘Akufo-Addo,’ 8-years-old, stood on e-waste heap from discarded computer parts and broken cathode-ray tube (CRT) glasses in the rain.

Born Kevin Twum Barimah, he’s nicknamed after Ghana’s current president due to their uncanny resemblance.

Akufo-Addo cannibalizes from discarded e-waste on the fringes of Agbogbloshie, Ghana, for a living.

Chattering and shivering in a sweater with a broken zipper, he used his bare hands and rocks to break apart old televisions sets for the iron materials inside.

He was desperate, and needed the money very badly for food.

I always intervene whenever I run into ‘Akufo-Addo,’ but that doesn’t solve the problem.

Iron scrap sold for GH₵1.00 (around $0.17) per kilo at Agbogbloshie in late May 2020.

He had what appeared to be acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis. When I asked if he had had any medical attention, he responded in twi, a local dialect: “me gyinsor.”

“My urine,” he said.

He told me his mother asked him to put his urine inside his eye as a way to cure the inflammation of the conjunctiva.

It was the first time I had heard of using one’s own urine as a home treatment for conjunctivitis.

Read more about Akufo-Addo here:

Child Labour: Akufo-Addo is an 8-year-old urban poor and engaged in hazardous child labour at Agbogbloshie, Ghana. Children working in hazardous environments at Agbogbloshie are exposed to heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, chromium, and mercury. Roughly around 19 million children worldwide below the age of 12 years are in hazardous child labour, according to the ILO. © 2020 Muntaka Chasant

Child Labour in Ghana: Meet 8-Year-Old ‘Akufo-Addo’

This 8-year-old nicknamed after Ghana’s president is engaged in hazardous child labour on the margins of Accra, Ghana. See how he navigates the underside of Agbogbloshie.

Learn more about the hazardous child labour situation at Agbogbloshie here:

Children of Agbogbloshie: Malik, Adama and Twum

Urban Outcasts: Children of Agbogbloshie

See hazardous child labour at Agbogbloshie and a missing child found through this article.

Child Labourer Cut By A CRT Glass

Turned away from Akufo-Addo for a moment, and Joseph Akwah, 17 years old, was bleeding from a cut from a broken CRT glass.

Children engaged in hazardous work on the fringes of Agbogbloshie are not only exposed to heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and chromium, they are also regularly cut by broken CRT glass.

Joseph lives on his own and had moved to the area from Winneba Junction, a town in the Central Region of Ghana, to work as an e-waste miner.

See Joseph Akwah about 2 weeks earlier here.

Read the links above to get up to speed on this hazardous child labour situation.

© 2020 Muntaka Chasant

May 28, 2020

14 Min read time

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