C.R.E.E.R was created after an encounter with a girl in 2007 aged 11 who had spent 3 years fending for herself on a beach in Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). The reason for her presence there is still unclear, what was clear was that she was alone and had been the victim of abuse in her efforts to stay alive. Her story was that her mother died in Togo & her father died of alcoholism somewhere in W.Africa. However after the loss of both parents, we believe she was a victim of trafficking from the Benin/Togo area. However, she’s now safely in a home with other girls learning ‘patisserie’ to enable her to find employment when she’s old enough. She’s just one of many out there who are victims of trafficking due to the chocolate industry or for use as an underage domestic servant!
C.R.E.E.R aims to train others like her. Creating a small-holding with 5ha of donated land, children will be housed with an experienced local Ivorian Centre Manager. They will learn a trade such as carpentry, sewing or metalwork etc & leave with at least reading, writing & basic mathematical skills. In the longer-term this will be on a self-sufficient basis; we aim to give a hand up! We need a lot of public support & awareness, however small; it will be significant!
Cote d’Ivoire, home of cocoa, Didier Drogba & where your supermarket pineapple often comes from; has had a recent troubled history starting with a coup d’etat in 1999 and susequent civil war which officially ended in 2007. During this time, many foreign aid organisations pulled out of the country. They are currently having their first elections in 10 years, now at the end of 2010. The average Ivorian wants peace.
There is a ‘trafficking’ corridor between Lagos (Nigeria) & Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire) which has seen many children pass through Benin, Togo & Ghana to reach either end of the chain to be ‘sold’ into some dangerously frightening & abusive situations.
C.R.E.E.R is working with the local authorities to take in the children that cannot be returned home. We are not aware of another centre like this in Cote d’Ivoire.
The goal was to have C.R.E.E.R set up a ‘safe-house’ for trafficked children. Our first priority is the children’s safety & welfare, but also transparent accounting with minimal costs in France (bank fees, website costs) for all our supporters!
The town where the land has been donated to C.R.E.E.R; population of 16,000, 60% unemployment. Excellent hospital, a lake with ‘tilapia’ fish, an important electricity producing dam & near to the Ghanaian border Cocoa plantations are widespread in this region!