Kweku, 5, Kojo, 6, and Kwame, 8, were taken by a slave owner when their mother couldn’t afford to pay back the money she had borrowed for their father’s funeral.
After one year as slaves, the brothers were freed by Challenging Heights.
“When they came to collect us, the slave owner said he was going to make us into medicine. We were terrified,” says Kwame.
“I was homesick the whole time and I cried every day,” says Kojo.
Mabel is 15 years old. Two years ago her mother died.
Her father had left the family long before that. Mabel and her siblings went to live with relatives.
To pay their way, Mabel was forced to work hard. At night she went out fishing. In the morning she collected wood and helped to cook the ‘kenkey’ maize porridge. Then she made lunch for everyone on the boats. And after that it was time to start preparing the dinner.
“I hardly slept at all,” says Mabel. “Every evening I hoped that there would be a storm, so I wouldn’t have to go out on the lake.”
She has ugly scars on her back, from being beaten with a paddle.
Her relatives had children of their own who were allowed to go to school, but Mabel and her siblings were not. One day, Steven and Linda from Challenging Heights came to visit. They told Mabel’s relatives that the law states that children have to go to school, and that they wanted to take Mabel and her siblings with them.
“They refused to let us go. So Steven and Linda came back with the police to get us.”
Mabel is delighted to be able to live in the safe house and go to school there.
“If I was President of Ghana I would make sure people knew that if you buy slaves you can end up in jail.”
Mabis delighted to be able to live in the safe house and go to school there.
Text: Eva-Pia Worland
Photo: Bo Öhlén