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Teachers: Citizenship: Globalisation Social

Last Updated: Monday January 31 2005 10:46 GMT

Worksheet: Mavis' story

Mavis, 14, from Ghana. (Photo: Nick David, Comic Relief)
Hi, I'm Mavis, and I'm 14. My dad's a cocoa farmer and my family - that's Mum, Dad, my 8-year-old sister and me - all live together in a small concrete house in the middle of our village in Ghana.

About three years ago Dad became too ill to work. He got tuberculosis and had to go to hospital for treatment. The treatment was expensive and took all the family savings. Because he was ill, he couldn't work on the farm.

Then I had to stop going to school because we couldn't pay the fees. I was

very unhappy because I really liked the lessons and sometimes even came top of the class. I also enjoyed playing games with my friends - in school we played netball and football.

But I had to leave and work on the farm instead. Farming is such hard work! After my dad got ill and couldn't work, the cocoa trees were invaded by lots of parasites.

Now only a few trees are left. So I mostly work with the cassava (large root vegetables a little like huge potatoes). I dig up the cassava roots and sort out which we can sell and which we should eat ourselves.

I also have to do a lot of the housework as well as the farming. I try to wake up early to study on my own before I get up. My jobs are cleaning the cooking pots, fetching water and preparing the cassava for our meals. I do these jobs in the morning and the evening. And I spend around seven hours each day working on the farm.

Juliana, my cousin, is also my best friend. We often borrow my uncle's Ludo board and play together. I like singing and she likes drawing. We're both good at weaving hair.

I want to be a bank manager or an accountant. I'm good at Maths and enjoy it a lot. I also like learning English. But now I can't go to school, so I expect I'll have to be a farmer like my dad. That scares me a lot - look at what's happened to him. His crops have been so badly destroyed and it'll be hard for him to find any other work.

Kuapa Kokoo can help us - that's the cooperative through which we sell the cocoa that's made into the Fairtrade chocolate that you buy in England. Kuapa Kokoo is supported by Comic Relief.

They can give my dad a loan to pay for his medicine and to buy new seeds to replant the cocoa crop. And they can help me get a government scholarship so I can go back to school.

I do hope that will happen. If I could go to school I would have the chance to learn a lot. I could become a bank manager and I would earn enough to look after my family properly.

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