School instead of child labour for the future of Kodjatchan (Benin)

The future belongs to children and with more than 1,000 prospective pupils aged four to seven in the Dassa-Zoume community, Kodjatchan has huge potential in this respect. A primary school is available for these children, but it is empty. Although the children would love to attend lessons and an education would improve their personal prospects for a future worth living, they are compelled to work as child labourers. Instead of attending school, simply because the necessary furniture is lacking for an orderly school routine, they have to help on farms or crush granite blocks for road construction along with their families far away from their village. The physical exertion and the dust that they inhale day in, day out in the granite quarries leads to respiratory ailments that have resulted in many children already becoming seriously ill. Others have been blinded by exploding fragments of granite during the thermal treatment of the granite prior to crushing. Children should be in school, not working in granite quarries or in the fields. The project team of HT BENIN, a registered non-profit association for the environment and social development in Benin has made it their mission to change this situation and to provide the furniture for the school’s six classrooms. Eager to help, the MARGARETE MÜLLER-BULL FOUNDATION is generously supporting this endeavour and we have a ready ear for what the children have to tell us: “We are forced to crush granite because there are no other prospects in our village. While many children like us attend school in other places, we have to work hard with our parents here in the quarry or help in the fields because our school has neither tables nor benches.” In March last year the new school furniture was presented to the village and the school director. Attendance and the number of new pupils starting school has since risen steeply. The thirst for learning is obvious as is the fact that education unlocks new perspectives for the children before despair drives them to violence and juvenile crime. This commitment by the MARGARETE MÜLLER-BULL FOUNDATION is thus in tune with a concern close to our founder’s heart.