Buckingham Foundation made its first international grant to Challenging Heights, a Ghana, Africa based non-profit, whose mission is the recovery of missing children and the abolishment of childhood slavery. Buckingham Foundation’s grant was used to construct and maintain the Buckingham House, made possible by the generosity of Buckingham Foundation donors. The Buckingham House will help increase the capacity from 65 children annually rescued and rehabilitated to 110.
The Department of Social Welfare has approved and licensed for children to move into the Buckingham House. Each dorm room in the house will hold 14 children with eight classrooms. There was an additional room included in the Buckingham House to be used as the IT Center.
James Kofi Annan is a former childhood slave and founder of Challenging Heights. Brad and Carol Chambers stumbled upon James’ work in a documentary at last year’s Heartland Film Festival and had the opportunity to visit the Challenging Heights mission in Ghana last year.
Our team had to opportunity to meet and learn from James Kofi Annan earlier last year. During James’ visit, Buckingham Foundation offered an additional $30,000 matching grant to support the October rescue of 30 children. Recently, we learned that our grant was quickly matched, and now, through Buckingham Foundation support, Challenging Heights will rescue up to 60 children by the end of the year and completely fill the new Buckingham House.
After meeting James and granting the funds needed for the rescue, Challenging Heights was able to successfully rescue 41 children from child trafficking and forced labor on Lake Volta. Prior to traveling to the lake, the Challenging Heights team spent weeks identifying and making a list of the children needing rescue by collaborating with police and the department of social welfare, as well as, utilizing reports from family members following community sensitization exercises. Over the course of eight days, the rescue team, in coordination with the Ghana Police Service and Ghana Naval Forces, were able to rescue 29 boys and 12 girls, ranging in age from approximately five to 18 years old.
We can’t wait to see the Buckingham House continue to grow these next few years and the children we are able to help rescue and provide a safe home for them.