Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day

Happy Labor Day.
Today my kids have had french toast (made by yours truly).
They have spread legos all over the place.
The girl has changed clothes 10x.
And now my house is filled with kids playing.
Two watching tv.
Two playing football in competing team jerseys.
Two jumping on the trampoline.
And two sword fighting (or something like that).
Basically they've just hung out today.
They've been kids.

But across the ocean there is another scenario going on.
It involves children but none of the other things I mentioned before.

There’s an estimated 7,000 children who work in the Ghana fishing industry. Some of
these children are as young as 5 and 6 years old.  All of these children are slaves.

My friend Meg, from the blog Whatever, invited me to join a large group of bloggers that are helping bring awareness to the Mercy Project this month; a project that is working to free children from trafficking and child labor.
Absolutely - YES.
I read through the site and watched the video.
I couldn't stop looking into the faces of the two little boys.
Their faces seem to tell you what they are thinking.
I simply can not imagine my children living as slaves, working 14 hour days, 7 days a week, sleeping on dirt floors with other slave children, eating one meal a day.
I can not imagine my children having that look on their faces; the ones I saw in the video.
I can not imagine feeling like I had no other option but to sell my children so they could survive.

What I do know is if these were my children I'd be in an all out rage to free them.
Nothing else would matter.
Nothing else would get done until my babies were home.
The world would see a side of me that none had seen before.

I struggle knowing just how to interact with all the injustices in the world.
I feel stuck a lot of the times.
Maybe you do too.
I think one of the first things we all have to do is just OPEN OUR EYES.
Be aware.
Awareness is huge.
It's the beginning of action for us.
I parent differently when I'm aware.
I pray differently when I'm aware.
I purchase things differently when I'm aware.
I care differently when I'm aware.

So I want to invite you to read through the rest of this post.
Watch the video; even show it to your kids.
Appropriate awareness changes our kids too.
They are doing some cool things with this project.
Their concept gets to the core of the problem and that is amazing.

Today many in our country will take a day off from our jobs to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers.  No matter if we’re celebrating at home or at the beach, we’re entering into a tradition that has largely been shaped by Labor Unions - organizations that are dedicated to protecting workers’ interests and improving their wages, hours, and working conditions.  Today as we lounge around or hang out with friends and family, we’re not only celebrating hard work, we’re honoring fair, ethical working practices and the laws that prevent discrimination, abuse, and child labor in our country.  Without these laws in place (and enforced), the most vulnerable members of society suffer.  Who are the most vulnerable? Children. 

Today as we’re celebrating the systems in our own country that strive to prevent injustices like child trafficking and child labor, we’re mindful of the many child slaves around the world who are unprotected and the organizations, like Mercy Project, who are working to free them.

As with much of Africa, there is a great deal of poverty in Ghana. Unfortunately, this leaves many mothers in an unimaginable position: sell their children to someone who can take better care of them or watch them starve to death. Most of the mothers are told their children will be given food, housing, and an education. Instead, the kids are often taken to Lake Volta where they become child slaves and their mothers never see them again.  Thankfully, Mercy Project is working to break the cycles of trafficking around Lake Volta by providing alternate, more efficient, sustainable, fishing methods for villagers – ultimately eliminating the need for child slaves.  Because of the work Mercy Project is doing in Ghana, the first group of children will be freed this month from Lake Volta.

We invite you to watch this moving, 10 minute documentary about the issues surrounding child labor and trafficking in Ghana and most importantly the hope Mercy Project is bringing to children and entire communities in Africa.  Mercy Project is the only NGO working on Lake Volta addressing the injustice of child labor and child trafficking at its root - by strengthening the Ghanaian economy and eliminating the structures that cause the demand for trafficked children.
Whether these ideas of child labor, child trafficking, and modern-day slavery are new to you or you’re aware of these injustices, but need to hear some good news every once in awhile, we invite you to become a part of what Mercy Project is doing in Ghana.  When Mercy Project frees their first group of children this month, we can all celebrate together.

Get involved and be aware by:

• Watching Mercy Project’s short documentary.

• Following Mercy Project on Facebook

• Connecting with Mercy Project via Twitter. 

• Spending some time on Mercy Project’s website.  

• Share about Mercy Project’s work in Ghana with your friends or on your blog.
You can copy and paste any of this post.  
( I can email you all the information as well.)

Happy Labor Day.


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