When Mawufemor, a 14-year-old girl, arrived at the Salesian “Child Protection Center” in Ashaiman, she was in a state of malnutrition, had already left school several years before and had already had many terrible experiences behind her. But at the center, hope has returned to her.
“The challenges of my life began after the separation between my parents. My mother left me in the care of my father who forced me to go and stay with him in a village near Lake Volta where he would fish,” says the girl.
In short, Mawufemor had to abandon school, then she had to work alongside a fishmonger to be trained to sell fish, and finally, after the death of her father, she ended up living in a fisherman’s house. “I would wake up at dawn and go to bed late at night. I was doing housework and I was still selling fish.”
She continues: “For several years I did not go to school. I wore worn clothes and often went to sleep without dinner. When my ‘foster father’ went fishing, he would leave me alone for days on end at home without food. He scolded and insulted me constantly. He molested me. They were frightening moments. I was terrified and I never talked to anyone about the abuse. One day I made the mistake of seeking help from a neighbor, but this simple gesture made my adoptive father furious. He severely punished me.”
Fortunately, someone told her mother about her situation, and she took her back with her. But the economic situation was precarious and Mawufemor had lost all hope for the future, as the possibility that she would return to work as a maid to make ends meet was increasingly more concrete. Until that one day when her mother came home happy, saying there was a group of people who took care of recovering children working in slavery on Lake Volta. That place was the Salesian center. Mawufemor had never heard of it and went there reluctantly. And yet…
“I immediately felt loved and welcomed. The meetings I participated in helped me regain my self-esteem. Today I can safely say that I want to learn as much as possible and I am more than willing to help the younger children in the center. I’m happy and I believe in the future,” she says in conclusion.