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Every day of the week,
200 million children around the world go out to work.
'Children who work in circuses in Russia...
'..on chocolate plantations in Africa...
'..children who work in Bollywood...
'..and children who want to be Africa's next big football star.'
Welcome to the world of Children At Work.
I'm Hazel Lindsey and I've come to one Ghana's
largest cocoa growing regions to see how children here help to create
one of the world's best-loved luxuries - chocolate.
Children in the UK eat more chocolate
than any other kids in Europe.
And around 70% of the world's cocoa is grown in West Africa.
That means most of the chocolate we all eat, starts its life here.
The children of the region often play an important
and controversial role in the process -
working in the cocoa plantations.
I'll be spending a week in a typical cocoa village
in the Ashanti region of Ghana
to find out more about how children here live and work.
The village is about five hours' drive from the capital, Accra.
It's called Akyem Ofoase.
The roads are pretty rough around here, so you can't drive very fast.
There we go.
It's so dusty.
'I'll be staying in the local guesthouse,
'usually home to visiting business people.
'There aren't any tourists here.'
'It's a world away from home, where cooking and chocolate
'are two of my favourite things.'
So, I'll add three bags of those.
I know my chocolate very well.
'Or I thought I did.'
'But going to Ghana in West Africa, where much of the cocoa
'that goes into our chocolate is grown,
'makes me realise, there's a lot more to it than I thought.
'Akyem Ofoase is home to about 7,000 people.'
You're very pretty.
'And although I'm a stranger here,
'I'm made to feel welcome straightaway.'
It's just amazing, Like, yesterday,
I was in the freezing cold in England and now, it's boiling hot
and I'm surrounded by all these beautiful children.
I'm so excited to find out about the cocoa growing
and it's just brilliant, really. So excited.
'The kids get really excited whenever they see my camera.'
'I don't think they've ever seen themselves in a photograph before.
'I'd like to find out more about them and their lives.
'In particular, as a newly qualified science teacher,
'I wonder if they go to school.'
-Do they like school?
-He said he goes to school.
-Do they like it?
'The kids clearly love going to school,
'but what's their favourite subject?'
'But they say there is only one computer at school,
'which they all have to share. They all have big ambitions -
'when they grow up, they want good jobs outside the cocoa village,
'as doctors or footballers.
'Sadly, most children who live in West Africa's cocoa villages
'won't even go on to secondary education.'
One, two, three, jump.
One, two, three. Yeah!
'The majority here will grow up to be adult farm workers.
'Despite all this ambition, there aren't the opportunities to match.'
'I'm here to meet 11-year-old Patrick Tawaih,
'whose family have been cocoa farmers for generations.
'His house is right in the middle of the village,
'where there's no running water or electricity.
'Most people in country areas in Ghana
'survive on about 75 pence a day,
'and Patrick's family are no exception.'
So, this is your kitchen? Brilliant. Is that...? What's in here?
'He shares his one-room house and front yard
'with his extended family of aunties, uncles and their children.
'Everything happens right here, in his front yard -
'work, rest, chatting, snoozing.
'There's a real sense of community here.
'All under the watchful eye of the family's animals.'
And your goat, which is happily eating.
You do your washing-up here? I'm following you.
'Patrick's uncle owns the family's cocoa farm.
'And they're all keen to show me round
'so we set off straightaway for the plantation,
'which is about 20 minutes' walk from the village.
'It's estimated that, in Africa,
'between 56 and 72 million children work in agriculture.'
The ground's really uneven, it's boiling, boiling hot,
so humid and sweaty.
'Hot and humid are exactly the right conditions for growing cocoa,
'but horrible to work in.
'All the same, there are 600,000 small, family farms, like this one,
'all over Ghana...'
Do they grow on the trunks?
'..and they produce most of the country's cocoa.'
They grow, like, up the trunk? I did not know that!
'Today, Patrick's uncle is giving me a crash course in cocoa production.'
-I had no idea at all that cocoa pods grew up, around the trunk.
-Oh, it's good.
-That one's ripe?
-This one is ripe.
-And this one, it's not quite ripe.
And they just keep going, up and up. It's amazing.
I can't believe how magical this place is.
There's trees literally everywhere.
I didn't realise they grew so close together.
And the way that all the cocoa pods wind themselves around the trunks,
it's just amazing.
One thing that I've really noticed is the leaf litter.
I think you can probably hear it.
I'm scraping through so many cocoa pod leaves.
Obviously, in leaves there can be hidden snakes,
so it's not surprising that lots and lots of children get bitten.
'In Ghana, it's illegal for children under 13 to work.
'After that, they're allowed to do light work
'that won't interfere with their schooling.
'11-year-old Patrick is one of the lucky ones, as he attends school.
'But many thousands of children in cocoa-growing areas
'don't go to school regularly because they're working so hard in the plantations.'
Wow. That's nothing like chocolate.
Just eat and see.
-You can eat it!
-What does it taste like?
-Don't chew it!
-We don't chew it.
-We don't chew it.
My mouth doesn't taste very nice! Can I spit it out?
Well, that was a huge disaster.
Instead of just, basically, sucking the white pulp,
which is beautifully sweet-tasting, I took three of these into my mouth
and bit into them and, right in the middle, is the cocoa bean
which happens to be the most bitter thing I've ever put in my mouth. It was absolutely disgusting.
'Back in the village,
'I discover that, as well as helping out on the farm,
'Patrick has his own nursery for cocoa plants,
'which he wants to show me.'
-Oh, wow, Patrick. So, here are all your cocoa plants.
Where did you get them from?
-The farm. And how long have they been here for?
-Nearly three weeks.
-And how long until they are fully grown?
-One week or two weeks.
-So, in two weeks they'll be ready.
-So, you'll sell the plants to cocoa growers, basically?
Then they plant them in their plantations.
-How much do they pay you for each plant?
'That's about 15 pence a plant,
'which goes towards Patrick's family's income
'and makes them relatively well-off.
'I'm beginning to realise that if the children didn't work on the farms,
'they'd go short of money and food.
'It's a tough choice.
'Early next morning, I set off with another group of children
'from the village on their long walk to the cocoa plantations.
'In the heart of the forest, it's surprisingly busy.
'Kids are on their way to school, gathering firewood
'and making sure that their best shoes are kept nice for school.'
Oh, gosh, they're moving quickly.
'Nearly all the boys here help out on their families' farms.
'They're just some of the millions of children who work on farms all over Africa every day.
'They're an invisible workforce.
'I'm interested to hear what they've got to say about their working lives.'
Tell me about a typical day during the harvest season.
'Cocoa growing is a hazardous occupation for these children.'
So, what happened when you hurt yourself?
Ow. Does that happen often?
A snake! Was it poisonous?
Does it make you afraid to come back out?
'The cocoa farmer they're working with today
'says he feels responsible for their well-being.'
How do you feel when they injure themselves?
'In spite of the hazards they face, the children told me that they enjoyed working
'as a team of friends.'
Do you like working with all the other children?
'I'd always thought that children who had to work would be unhappy
'and resentful. But meeting these kids has made me re-think that.
'All the same, just because they don't seem to mind,
'doesn't mean it's right.
'To find out more about 11-year-old Patrick's everyday life,
'I'm spending the day with him at home.'
Thank you very much, Patrick.
'Patrick and his auntie Regina have invited me
'to look around the house.'
-So, is this where you sleep with your family?
And there's your little brother, fast asleep.
How many people sleep here at night?
-Ten. Wow. Ten people.
-Is this one of Patrick's brothers or sisters?
-Desmond. His name is Desmond.
-Desmond. Hello, you're beautiful.
-He doesn't know what to make of it all. And who's this?
Fast asleep on the floor.
-Is he ill?
'One-year-old Kwami has malaria,
'a disease which is carried by mosquitoes.
'The cramped living conditions mean that serious diseases like malaria
'and typhoid, which is caused by poor hygiene,
'are both common here, in the village,
'and they can be deadly, especially for babies and children.'
-Regina, what are you drinking?
-Medicine. What is it for?
-What do you drink it for?
-Is this it here?
-Let's have a look.
-Wow, we've got a real selection.
-And this one.
-Star fruit, yeah.
It's got a very smoky smell, actually.
-And then, you just pour it into your cup?
-And it helps?
'It's a poor substitute for the vaccination against typhoid
'that I had before I came here, but it's all they've got.'
-Is typhoid a real problem round here?
-Yes. It's a problem.
'The village is completely dependent on cocoa farming for its living.
'It's hard to believe that chocolate,
'which we all think of as a luxury, a treat,
'starts off in a place where there are no luxuries at all.'
So, tell me what's happening here.
'The traditional way of drying the beans is to leave them
'for six days in the plantation, wrapped in banana leaves.
'This stops them being eaten by animals.
'Then, they're put on drying mats, all around the village
'for another week or so.
'I was amazed to discover that there are no machines involved at all
'in the production of cocoa here.
'Everything is done by hand, just as it was 200 years ago,
'when slaves here first cultivated cocoa for the European market.
'As well as helping with cocoa production,
'children are expected to do a lot of household chores.
'Even ones that involve heavy lifting.
'Patrick often has to collect the family's water.
'He's going to take me to the bore hole which provides a clean supply
'for the whole village.'
This is the bore hole. Show me how to do it. Do you have to just pump?
And that will bring up the water from deep underground, nice and clean, I can see.
Fantastic. We can cook the dinner now.
Shall I have a go? See how easily I can carry this on my head.
That's so heavy, I can barely lift it above my head.
It's really, really, really heavy.
I'm spilling it everywhere!
'Everything I take for granted at home -
'turning on a tap, doing the washing in a washing machine,
'cooking on a cooker, even taking a shower - just doesn't exist here.
'It means that everything takes an effort and everyone has to help out.
'Childhood here is hard work.
'This evening, I'm going to be eating with Patrick's family.
'I'm not sure what's on the menu, but I get a bit worried when I see what the neighbours are having.'
Bush meat, and I can see lots of legs.
I think I can see a jawbone right there!
It's a very small animal, whatever it is.
'It's a bush rat and it's served up with fufu,
'which is pounded cassava and yam.'
It's very interesting.
'It's the end of the day, and back in Patrick's yard,
'his family are also getting ready to eat.'
I'm just sat watching Patrick's dinner cook
with his gorgeous sister, Precious.
His mum's just finished adding some spices to the soupy mix.
I'm really surprised by how many chickens and goats...
I don't know if you can see them, just scratching around. It's brilliant.
'It takes quite a while to cook a meal for ten people on an open fire.
'I'm just relieved that we're not having bush rat for dinner.'
Patrick's mum's showing me how to make a rice dish
and I think she's going to mould it together in her hands.
-Using a saucer to pull it out. That looks really hot.
-It's absolutely boiling.
-Ow. Is this cold water?
It's not as good as yours.
Patrick's mum has some skewers of fish and she's taking them off
and rinsing them in water. So, the fish are going into the soup.
'I've been made to feel so at home by Patrick's family, it's brilliant.
'Seeing how they make ends meet on about 70 pence a day -
'about the same price as bar of chocolate at home -
'it does make me wonder why we don't pay more for our chocolate.
'If we did, it might make their lives quite different.'
I slept quite well.
The electricity kept cutting out, so my fan was intermittent.
So it was boiling hot, but it's all part of the experience.
And I'm having a brilliant time.
'What the last few days have made me think,
'is how easily we take for granted the chocolate we eat.
'At home, chocolate means enjoyment, celebration, a taste of luxury.
'Here, it's just a way of earning the bare minimum.
'Patrick manages to combine education
'with helping out on the cocoa farm,
'and I'm curious to see what his school is like.'
It's eight o'clock in the morning, I'm visiting Patrick's school.
It's brilliant to be here,
all the children are so beautifully turned out.
Patrick's already been really busy cleaning the school,
picking up rubbish.
'In Africa, it's quite usual for children to be responsible
'for cleaning the schools themselves.
'When I saw the teachers carrying sticks,
'I wondered what they were going to be doing with them.
'I didn't realise they'd be using them on the children.
'The children here treat it as normal.
'After cleaning up, it's time for Patrick to join everyone else
'for prayers, as this is a Catholic school.'
THEY PREY IN GHANAIAN LANGUAGE
'Ghana is a mainly Christian country,
'a legacy of its history as a former British colony.
'There's free education for all Ghanaian children
'up until the age of 15.
'But because they have to provide their uniforms and books,
'it often means that children can't afford to attend school.
'Patrick's more fortunate.'
Patrick attends school every day, from eight till two,
and he's going to show me what one of his classes is like.
'They're learning about prime numbers.
'It's noisy in class and difficult to concentrate.
'Very few of the children have exercise books.'
What is it?
Looking around, it seems that only a few people actually have books.
I think everyone's having to remember
everything they're being taught.
Three divided by three?
'To me, it seems a very old-fashioned way of learning.
'It's quite repetitive and boring.'
Two times three times three. Do not include one.
-I'm quite shocked by the discipline in this classroom
-cos the teacher's walking around with a stick.
-Go to classes.
More than half of children from cocoa villagers
finish their primary education without being able to read or write.
When I met some children out in the cocoa plantation,
I asked the farmer they were working for
what he thought of them missing out on school.
Do you think it's right that you should be working in the cocoa plantations?
Or that you should be at home playing?
-Do you like school?
Why do you like school?
What would you like to be when you're older?
Do you want your children to become cocoa farmers when they're older?
'So, what do these children think about the chocolate that we eat?
'I've brought some for them to try.'
It's too smooth, sweet.
'Because we add a lot of milk and sugar to our chocolate,
'the children don't seem to like it very much.
'In fact, the children in this village don't eat much chocolate,
'as I discover later, when I go with Patrick to his local sweet shop.'
So, which sweets do you like best, Patrick?
I love the way they sell toothbrushes at the sweet shop.
There's a mixture of things here.
But, interestingly, I can't see any chocolate.
'Of course, chocolate would melt in the heat here.'
Can I see them?
'The local sweet shop is one of the few places
'which offers treats for the children.
'It's a welcome break in their routine.
'There isn't much for the children to do here.'
I like this, Patrick, it's good.
'There are no playgrounds in the village,
'no books, no iPods, no toys.
'But the children always find something to play with.
'And, as I've got to know them, I've become very attached to them.
'Now that it's time to leave, I feel very sad.
'But today, I'm moving on to Accra, the country's capital and main port.
'After the simplicity of the cocoa village,
'it's a bit of a shock to the system
'to be back in all the noise and commotion of the city.'
I love bustling towns because there's so much to look at
and there's always people trying to sell you things.
Thank you very much. Thank you.
'And after all the chocolate,
'I can't resist a nice, cool drink of coconut milk.'
'Here, in Accra, I'm going to talk to Bright Appiah.
'He's the director of Child Rights International, which campaigns against child labour.
'He says it continues to be a problem,
'partly because of parents' traditional attitudes to their kids.'
Because I strongly believe that people do not respect
the dignity of children.
They feel that children are their property
-and they can use their child to do anything at all.
-Anything they wish.
Who's really to blame?
Is it us as consumers, spending too little on our chocolate?
Is it the government? Is it the farmers themselves?
Or even the chocolate manufacturers? It's such a long chain, isn't it?
There's a chain of responsibility, that you have mentioned.
All of us need to look at it.
But I think that the final consumer of the product
has a lot of say in all these matters.
Because if children are doing this, you know,
we can also speak out and tell them that, yes, enough is enough,
we need to give children their place.
'As the sacks of beans are made ready to be shipped to Europe
'on the final stage of their journey,
'I want to hear what the chocolate manufacturers are doing
'about replacing the main ingredients in the process - child workers.
'Back home in the UK, I'm in London to meet Nick Weatherill
'who's from the International Cocoa Initiative.
'They represent chocolate manufacturers, governments
'and other organisations
'and say they're committed to getting rid of child labour.
'He says that parents have no choice about whether their children work on the farms.'
It's clear that if a poor African household, a family,
doesn't have enough money to feed themselves,
then they will use whatever resources they've in got the house,
and that includes their own children, to increase the income they can get.
'So, will child labour in the cocoa industry
'ever be a thing of the past?'
With all of the right factors in place,
and that means consumers demanding that their cocoa isn't contributing
to the problem of child labour, governments putting in the right resources
so that kids can go to school,
companies ensuring that farmers are getting sufficient revenue
from their production. If all of this happens then,
we really believe that we can solve this problem.
'It's been a privilege to meet Patrick
'and the children of Akyem Ofoase
'and I'm really sad to have left them.
'I'll never look at chocolate or eat it in the same way again.
'But most of all, I'd like to think that by enjoying chocolate
'and giving cocoa farmers a better deal, we might also, one day,
'be giving these children the right to a childhood.'
Applause. Yeah! Very good.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd