MUNTAKA CHASANT
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‘Akufo-Addo’ – The Urban Poor Child

They began work at 5:30 and quit at 7 at night. Children six years old going home to lie on a straw pallet until time to resume work the next morning! I have seen the hair torn out of their heads by the machinery, their scalps torn off, and yet not a single tear was […]

March 30, 2020

Poor Child: 'Akufo-Addo' is an 8 years old boy engaged in hazardous child labour on the fringes of Agbogbloshie, Ghana. According to the International Labour Organization, more than 75 million children who are victims of child labour worldwide are aged 5-11 years. Up to one-fourth of all hazardous child labour worldwide (19 million) is done by children less than 12 years old. Ghana has a high youth population, with people aged 24 years and below making up more than 55% of the population. According to UNICEF, around 28% of children in Ghana live in poverty. © 2020 Muntaka Chasant

They began work at 5:30 and quit at 7 at night. Children six years old going home to lie on a straw pallet until time to resume work the next morning! I have seen the hair torn out of their heads by the machinery, their scalps torn off, and yet not a single tear was […]

They began work at 5:30 and quit at 7 at night. Children six years old going home to lie on a straw pallet until time to resume work the next morning! I have seen the hair torn out of their heads by the machinery, their scalps torn off, and yet not a single tear was shed, while the poodle dogs were loved and caressed and carried to the seashore.

Mother Jones

“They began work at 5:30 and quit at 7 at night. Children six years old going home to lie on a straw pallet until time to resume work the next morning! I have seen the hair torn out of their heads by the machinery, their scalps torn off, and yet not a single tear was shed, while the poodle dogs were loved and caressed and carried to the seashore.” Mother Jones


Child labour remains a grave problem throughout the world. Being on the front line, I have seen far worse scenes of urban poor children involved in works that may be detrimental to their current and future health. The 8 years old ‘Akufo-Addo’ below is one of such hazardous child workers.

Visit the link below to see how I have documented this hazardous child labour situation.

Related: Urban Outcasts: Children of Agbogbloshie

The Agbogbloshie Hazardous Child Labourer Nicknamed ‘Akufo-Addo’

Yaw, 8 years old, is a child labourer who cannibalizes from e-waste on the margins of Agbogbloshie, Ghana.

He looks vulnerable, and he is, and more fragile when you see him laboriously hauling sacks full of e-waste from the dump — with the sound of coins chinking in his pockets and long bling necklaces dangling around his neck — to the precious metals weighing booths.

Yaw is nicknamed ‘Akufo-Addo’, after Ghana’s current president: Nana Akufo-Addo. No doubt there’s some resemblance there.

The young Akufo-Addo uses hands, stones, and hammers to break apart old electronics to retrieve the precious metals inside.

As a full-time e-waste miner, young Akufo-Addo’s treasures can earn him as high as GH₵100 (around $17.40 in March 2020) on a good day. On average, he earns around GH₵20 ($3.40) every day.

The 8 years old may appear to earn close to what the average bachelor’s degree holder in Ghana takes home every month, but this exposes him to dangerous levels of lead and other toxic substances such as chromium, mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls.

Akufo-Addo is frequently cut by broken cathode-ray tube glasses.

I have written about this hazardous child labour situation at Agbogbloshie. See the article below for details and more photographs.

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.


Leave your comment below and let me know what you think about the photos above and the Agbogbloshie hazardous child labour situation.

© 2020 Muntaka Chasant

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