Ideas for vocational skills

We’ve already mentioned that the children will all leave with a vocational skill, or hopefully continue to further education so to be able to provide for themselves during their adults lives.

Initially the children can try whichever one they would like, but in later years we hope that they will concentrate on one or two.  Our expectations is that they will leave the centre fully equipped with skills they’ve learnt to find a job or go into tertiary education.

Our current list of vocational skills will depend on the funding we can find for the equipment needed, so far most of these are low-cost skills in terms of fixed assets.  There are many more we would like to do as we grow.

Sewing 

Lea, our Director’s partner is a skilled seamstress & will be running the courses.

We currently have a donation of one electric sewing machine; considering we are hoping to run the centre on renewable energy sources (predominantly solar) it’s going to be a strain on the supply if we run several of these.

If you have a spare manual machine (we will take electric too) that you’d like to give to a good home; we would be very happy to hear from you.

Welding

We are aiming to have a welding workshop to train the children for the future.

We suspect that their welding skills as well as the mechanical ones will also be useful in keeping our renewable energy sources going; giving them another area to look for work.

This is part of the founder’s bucket list, to have some children able to move into aviation and together with mechanics, could be useful!

If you know of any tools that are still usable and need a good home, please do get in touch.

Mechanics

Another workshop to master the technicalities of mechanics which will probably run alongside the welding workshop.

There’ll be no shortage of old cars to bring in that will have finally seen the end of their lives.  However we do not want the centre to turn into a scrap yard by any stretch of the imagination!

Decent tools may be our downfall; if you know of any that would like to be of use to trafficked children, we’d gladly put them to use!

Cookery

Bread, cakes, patisserie; local cooking, learning foreign dishes the list is endless.  However the most important lesson that will be ongoing throughout their courses will be HYGIENE.

In West Africa there are some odd old myths, such as treating cuts with cow dung.  Hygiene will be crucial throughout the centre but particularly during these courses.

We hope to buy a gas stove that runs from a bottle to allow them to cook.  The gas stove is going to cost about 250€ as well as replenishing our gas supplies both for this workshop & for the centre’s own kitchen.

Farming & animal husbandary

As we will have 5hectares of land, some of it will be put to use as a small holding with chickens, sheep, bees & small crops.   You will have seen the A, B, C of farming at CREER as well as the Bees & Honey post.

We have experts who want to give agricultural lessons in classrooms.  C.R.E.E.R wants to give as much knowledge to the children as possible so that they can set up alone if this is the path they choose to take.

Our initial needs will be in the form of spades, forks, wheelbarrows & material to construct pens as well as seedlings or seeds to start this training.  A small tractor would be a dream!

Hairdressing

This is a massive industry in W.Africa as well as many other parts of Africa, plaiting, braiding & inserting extensions.

It will probably be the girls who will want to do this and they will need expert guidance on how to do it effectively so that they might build their own hair salon in the future.

Electricity & Energy

This is quite a large area that can encompass the welding & mechanics fields too.  This workshop will ensure they have skills to work safely with electricity and learn about renewable energy.  We hope that through our own sustainable energy supply they will learn more skills in solar & possibly wind or water power.  Our hope is that they will go onto tertiary education or we find a suitable role for them to work in an apprentice type role on leaving the centre.

Carpentry

Another vocational skill that will be a path for the future.

We will need assistance to buy wood for the children to manipulate it as well as carpentry tools; if you have some that need a new home, please get in touch!

There are many other vocational ideas that are on the horizon.  We intend to have the children speaking English as well as French so that they can go into the tourism industry which is growing across West Africa.  We already have a variety of organisations ready to take them aged 17 or so for a short work placement.

But we need you to help us realise our dream!

A, B, C of farming for CREER

A is for avocados, we hope to have a tree or two on the land

B is for bananas, which are native to Cote d’Ivoire & will be grown with the expert eye of one of our Ivorian board members.  They contain at least 10 percent of a recommended daily intake of carbohydrate in the form of fibre and sugar. Also rich in potassium and the vitamins A, B-6 and C.  Bananas provide about 105 calories, whilst containing negligible amounts of sodium and fat.  Ideal for the children’s diet.   http://www.livestrong.com/article/530296-what-nutritional-qualities-are-bananas-heavy-on/#ixzz2Kc7J8vNo  Please also see P for Plantains (large bananas)

ChickenC is for chickens, we aim to buy a few hens and several dozen chicks, use them for their eggs & meat; if we have excess, we will be able to sell them locally; thereby compensating on other provisions such as rice & flour.

D is for dogs.  No we’re not going to feed them to the children!!!  But they will be a useful deterrent to anyone attempting to enter the centre; animals stealing our produce and playmates for the children!

E is for eggs & eggplant (aubergine) – eggs from our chickens & aubergines (eggplants) grow easily in the tropical climate of Cote d’Ivoire.

FishF is for fish, we will need expert advice and have already talked to a former trout fish farmer about creating a small fish farm with stock to feed the centre & sell locally.  A rather costly project & it might be too much of a gamble!  Tilapia or ‘Capitaine’ as it’s known in Cote d’Ivoire is a favourite.

G is for goat, these are eaten locally and taste very good, particularly when smoked.  They may not be eaten at the centre but will do a good job on the land keeping the weeds down.

H is for honey, made from our bees we hope, there’s a post about it here: https://creercentre.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/bees-honey/

I is for iron, essential part of any diet & will be found in many of the root vegetables & greens that we’ll grow at the centre.

Vegetables

J is for juice, we’ll be able to make a lot of juices from the various fruits growing on the land

K is for kiwifruit, not that we’ve seen kiwifruit growing in Cote d’Ivoire but it would be interesting if we could get a male & female pair to grow & produce; the climate might be a little too tropical.  Worth a try!

L is for lettuce, easily grown, good source of dietary fibre as well as potassium & iron

M is for mango, lots of mango trees in Cote d’Ivoire, lovely fruit to eat; we hope to have one on the land.

N is for nuts, cashew nuts are grown there, the main growing region is near where we hope to have the land.

O is for onions, a staple part of the diet, which we will endeavour to grow to save on purchasing costs.

P is for pineapple or papaya, both grow well in the tropical climate giving the children more fruit intake.  It’s also for plantain a larger banana that can only be eaten once cooked.  Often fried to create ‘alooko’.

Q – Still thinking about this … the question remains how much we can grow on the 5ha of land with a few animals

R is for rice, one necessary foodstuff we cannot grow & will cost us dearly; currently the price for a 25kg sack of rice is about 20€.

S is for sheep, we will start with a few and hope to grow a small flock to keep the centre’s meat purchases to a minimum.

T is for tomatoes, another staple part of the Ivorian diet and easily grown.

Tomatoes

U is for we need U to help us, to make this small holding a reality!

V is for vegetables, which as you can see we aim to grow in a variety of forms

W is for wild oranges that may be found growing on the land.

X is for xceptional produce that the children will be involved with!

Y is for yam, another part of the staple Ivorian diet, often made into ‘attieke’ which Americans tell us tastes like sourdough.

Z is for zuccini (or courgette) easily grown in this climate.

Bees & Honey

As part of our sustainability we have a number of ideas we would like to put in place.

We’re looking at having bee hives; they’re cheap, local & every part of the bee’s process can be used and put to good use as an end product.

We’ve been in touch with an organisation regarding some training and seen how easy it is to create the hives and some of the protective clothing.

It’s projects like this that the children can take away with them to use independently when they leave the centre.  At the same time it gives C.R.E.E.R another source of food and possibly income if there’s surplus honey; as well as using the beeswax to profit the centre.

http://www.beesabroad.org.uk – who have been very helpful with advice & we hope to see them in Cote d’Ivoire when they next visit Ghana

ww.apiconsult.com – some interesting information on beekeeping in Africa

Why, where, what will C.R.E.E.R be?

CREER logo

C.R.E.E.R = Centre de Reinsertion et d’Education pour les Enfants de la Rue

(Centre of Reinsertion & Education for street children)

Cote d'Ivoire near the Ghana border

Why?

Some children are sold by their families for about US $60, believing that they will have a good life with an employer or promised that they will receive an education.

The families often need the money to manage the rest of the family.

Traffickers will sell these children onto farmers, domestic homes and brothels  offering children for US$200-US$250+.

Many of these children end up mentally and physically scarred from working  like bonded slaves; some will manage to runaway but live on the streets.

Why do families sell their children?

This video says it all, it’s why there are so many children coming from the Sahel belt; the Sahara encroaching on farmland; seeing it for yourself is startling, this video makes it all a bit more real

A farmer with dry land, how can he be expected to feed his family if the land isn’t sustainable?

It’s not just in Niger, but in Burkina Faso, Mali (where there’s more than just drought right now!)  and right across to Mauritania on the Atlantic coast where many West Africans are working for a pittance & slavery has only just been made illegal …

What makes it worse is when families such as these, share their food bowl with you; C.R.E.E.R’s founder has eaten with similar families.

So many are ‘forced’ to sell a child for US$60 or so, to pay for the rest of the family, buy necessary provisions or receive medical care.  The US$60 will go a long way for the family but the child who is sold will end up trafficked & working for others somewhere …

We all have to give back in abundance.  Our own way is to help the trafficked children in long-term rehabilitative care, providing an education to empower them out of this vicious cycle.

Read more here about the young girl’s legacy who gave the inspiration to create C.R.E.E.R http://wp.me/s3aqBS-17

Where?

C.R.E.E.R is to be a non-profit, non-political and non-religious centre in Abengourou, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast).   We expect a mix of Christians & Muslims as well as local religions; those that want to follow their faith can do so locally and will be taken to their place of worship by our staff.  We aim to work with the children, to give them future hope and be able to lead a normal adult life, after being part of a family at the centre.

Map of CI

What will C.R.E.E.R be?

As the first such designated centre in West Africa our aim is to give long-term rehabilitation for trafficked children from all over region that are being brought over the border for farming, domestic servitude & prostitution.

We’ve already talked to the immigration authorities.  The Ivorian Authorities are keen to see us set up as there’s nowhere that solely caters for trafficked children.  They house those that they can intercept at the border, wherever they can find a bed.  Our aim is to repatriate those that have families that can take care of them & educate the children that cannot be repatriated.

The idea is to create the centre as soon as possible.  C.R.E.E.R has worked hard since conception in 2010 before the Ivorian crisis and was unfortunately let down already regarding land with false promises in early 2011.

We aim to be as self-sufficient as possible, enabling the children to learn about animal husbandry as well as renewable energy sources and their maintenance.

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1.  We have been promised 5-hectares of land just over the border from Ghana in Cote d’Ivoire’s 10th largest town, Abengourou.  We will build the centre with single sex dormitories and workshops but to also create a small holding that the children will manage with tutors.

a)  The centre will provide accommodation for about 30 children initially.
b)  All children will receive an education, maths, French and also potentially English as core components of other subjects.

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2.  On the land we want to build workshops, this will be the vocational part of the project so that all children will have a chance to leave with a skill.

We hope some will further their education too in tertiary establishments.   The workshops will consist of vocational skills such as sewing, mechanics, carpentry and cooking etc.

We have a wonderful manager who is now ready to work with us, he has already managed an orphanage for several years & dearly missed by the children there.   He has held a variety of important meetings for C.R.E.E.R with government ministers.

We totally trust him & believe he will drive things forward in the interests of trafficked children.

In the longer term we’re hoping to have other C.R.E.E.R centres in Africa, the next one being at the other end of this trafficking corridor, just inside Nigeria’s border.

If you’d like to help, please email us at : c.r.e.e.r.rci@gmail.com

Or join our group http://www.facebook.com/groups/c.r.e.e.r.rci/

Or page http://www.facebook.com/pages/CREER/160911540628718 on Facebook

We’re also on Twitter @CREER_RCI

Please help us to get the first building at the centre constructed

(Thanks to ThirdEyeMom for the video & Sahel update: http://thirdeyemom.com/2013/02/26/starving-in-sahel-its-time-to-care)