Silence has prevailed for a few months, the C.R.E.E.R board have been busy with a number of projects for future fundraising. On return from the founder’s visit from Cote d’Ivoire, we rang Nestlé again who were already aware of us, to explain what happened on the trip there.
Nestlé invited us to Vevey, their HQ in Switzerland at 10am on 9th July. Train tickets for the Founder & Treasurer were duly booked & a hostel reservation was made. The day of departure, the Treasurer wasn’t well with a bad back that had been a problem over the weekend. On Monday 8th July, the Founder found herself alone boarding the train to Vevey via Geneva & Nimes.
After a long 11hour train trip with 3 changes, Vevey was in sight, a beautiful town on Lake Leman!
The meeting started at 10am, Nestle has it’s own Avenue in Vevey; a short walk from the lovely ‘Grande Place’. A presentation had already been put together for the meeting with a few extra support letters arriving at the last minute that needed printing out.
Overall, the meeting went well, C.R.E.E.R is a ‘new’ NGO without a building as yet or children so the fact that Nestle’s door remains open is a positive.
However a few questions were puzzling. Without wanting to explicity say ‘there are trafficked children on cocoa farms in Cote d’Ivoire (which we are SURE you are aware of)’ there were a few questions that were raised in regards as to ‘where’ the children for the centre would appear from.
Surely this is obvious, there are children out there that have runaway from their enslavement and living on the streets. There are children that are arriving at the borders that need specialist assistance & not to be put in an orphanage. There are also those children that may hear of us & come to us. However C.R.E.E.R will not be visiting farms to extract children from cocoa farmers, this would cause chaos!
A second issue was the repatriation. C.R.E.E.R will be working with other organisations both on a governmental level & in terms of iNGO’s such as UNICEF, Oxfam etc to ensure that repatriation will give a solid future for each child. Of course we cannot assess & are not ‘gods’ to make the decision for each child but we aren’t prepared to repatriate a child to a home where the family may re-sell that child or they aren’t accepted into the community. Those that ‘can’t’ go home for whatever reason will be offered a place on a long term basis in the centre; but this won’t be our work, it will be the work of external organisations to ensure their future.
Another point that was raised was why the government aren’t carrying out this project. It was clearly stated that the government had built two centres for a total cost of US$206,000 & had written about this in the US AID TIP 2013 which they then refused to acknowledge any donations as their trafficking problem would be kept in-house. The centre that we visited in 2011 during the crisis was built in a shantytown. It had never been used, it was vandalised, people were squatting on the land with their own buildings … need we go on??? Sorry, but Nestlé, had you done your homework on this?
We were touched by the letter from Mr. Outtara, a Director of a governmental agency that we met in Abengourou who strongly wrote in our favour. As well as many other supporters including our US based Ghanaian consultant.
Support from all our followers is still needed to ensure that Nestlé as well as other companies support our mission, that we can get this project off the ground!
Thanks for continuing to follow us!