Don Bosco’s preventive system aims to eliminate risks at its root through a series of targeted actions. But, when needed, Salesian missionaries also intervene later, if there is someone that requires help.
This is what can be clearly seen in Ghana where the “Child Protection Centre” was born, a centre dedicated to minors police saved from the slave trade. It is a project created to offer spaces for welcoming youngsters from the outskirts of the capital Accra, a place that also welcomes victims of trafficking.
Fr Silvio Roggia, 20 years of mission in Ghana, is among the promoters of this project and explains: “The Child Protection Centre is a home for those who find themselves – overnight – without chains, but with terrible internal wounds to heal and a life to be revived after months and years of hell.”
The phenomenon of child slavery is unfortunately widespread in that African region. “Already twenty years ago, when I traveled by land between Nigeria and Ghana, passing through Benin and Togo,” recalls Don Silvio Roggia, “at the borders you could see the posters of organizations that warned against the trafficking of children, sold for years and used in cocoa plantations as labor at zero cost from unscrupulous bosses.”
Child trafficking later spread to the fishing and herding sectors and then opened up to foreign criminal circuits.
Thus was born the Child Protection Centre, which now stands on a land donated by Inna Marian Patt, the winner of Miss Ghana 2004. The young woman wanted a structure to be created, one that was dedicated to the most disadvantaged young people and, on meeting the Salesians of Don Bosco, her dream came true.
A center like this is essential for the recovery of young people. When the police are able to save these children, it is very important to insert them as soon as possible in a path of psychological and social recovery.
At the Child Protection Centre, children learn to read and write, then receive a proper school education and, finally, they are helped in entering the world of work.
“You see the miracles,” adds Fr Silvio. “Children who had lost their use of the word due to the trauma subjected to immediately resume to communicate and those who were sentenced to years of total isolation resume socializing.”