CÔTE D'IVOIRE - Ousmane's and Aboubacar's stories

The determination to get out of the cocoa plantations.

I want to become a breeder of pigs to help my grandparents and also help other children.", said Ousmane
Ousmane is from Obrouayo, a village in Soubré, Côte d’Ivoire. Fatherless, his mother abandoned him when he was 6 years old as she couldn’t provide for him. He was raised by his maternal grandparents who are themselves very poor: they live in a mud house in a nearby village encampment, where there is no school and no access to clean drinking water or health care.
He was helped by the director of the school of Obrouayo, who took him in and sent him to school. However, due to the scarcity of resources, after 4 years in his care he left school and returned to the camp with his grandparents and began to work in the cocoa plantations.
With the support of the ILO-IPEC project in Côte d’Ivoire and the NGO ASA, he was able to leave the cocoa plantations and attend a farming course. "I want to become a breeder of pigs to help my grandparents and also help other children," he said. Based on an agreement with the AMIGO vocational training centre, Ousmane’s registration, tuition and boarding fees were provided for.

He is following the core courses at the vocational school and, next year, he will follow a specialised training in animal breeding. Once he has completed the three-year course, Ousmane will be given an installation kit to start his own business and live his dream of becoming a farmer.

Ms. Yao Kouassi, the child’s guardian explains, "Today, he is flourishing. He is happy with what he is doing. I thank the ILO for what they have done for the child." "Ousmane is the pride of his grandparents. Many children often live in difficult situations such as little Ousmane, hence we must salute these types of projects that offer an alternative for children who have lost all hope," said the fieldworker from the NGO ASA who identified the child

Aboubacar, is 10 years old and lives in Assoumoukro, a village 2 kilometres from M'batto in Côte d'Ivoire. Aboubacar did not go to school and worked instead on his father’s cocoa plantation. He wanted to go to school, but he couldn’t convince his father to enrol him. With no other option, Aboubacar continued to work in the fields. He was seriously injured on a number of occasions and still bears the scars.

In September 2013, Aboubacar met the President of the School Management Committee (SMC) of the village to explain his desire to go to school despite having fallen behind his peer group. The President, impressed by Aboubacar’s determination, invited him to attend literacy classes so he could join the formal education system. Yet Aboubacar insisted on joining primary school, and, with the support of the President of the SMC, he was finally enrolled.

Shortly afterwards, he received support through the ILO-IPEC Social Centre M’Batto programme and he was provided with the necessary school kit and uniform and treatment for his injuries.

Today, Aboubacar is happy about his life: he goes to school, he no longer works all day in the field, he is happy to be able to read and write.