One of the ugly parts of the global chocolate production industry is that child slavery is rampant in West Africa. Many people are aware of the idea of "blood diamonds," but enslaved children are also being exploited in the harvesting of chocolate, palm oil, and even coffee beans. Luckily, there are NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) involved in trying to change this. You can volunteer with a NGO and travel to Sierra Leone and work with them to help battle the use of child labor. Here are three ways you might help.
Volunteer As A Teacher
There are many farms that allow the children to attend school for very brief time periods during the week. The children don't have the same schooling as children who are not forced to work in the fields, but it is an improvement over past treatment. You could work as an ESL teacher and help them learn English. The older children, and even some of the adults who work as low paid laborers or indentured servants, might also benefit from math lessons and other basics that you can teach. This is a great way to volunteer if you are not physically strong and are unable to do hard labor (construction, loading trucks, etc.).
Volunteer In A Hospital
If you have any training that would be helpful in a hospital setting, then you should look to volunteer in one of the local hospitals. One of the major problems in the cocoa fields is cuts. The children, teenagers, and adults who work in the fields work with machetes and can get bad cuts. These cuts can become infected and cause serious illness. The cocoa production farms don't provide adequate medical services, which is why volunteers who work with non-governmental agencies are there to help. If you don't have training to actually treat the injuries, you could still volunteer in the hospital and help stocking the supplies, organizing the patients, and keeping the operation running smoothly.
Drive A Rental Truck And Work With Transport
Another fact of living in Sierra Leone is that most things need to be transported by truck. The volunteers are often responsible for transporting supplies from one area to another. You could volunteer to drive one of these trucks. If you don't know how to drive a large truck, you could always ride on-board and help load and unload the truck. Non-governmental organizations understand that in many of these remote areas there are no private delivery services, so driving and working on a truck is a vital part of the volunteer process. Contact a company like Flash Vehicles for more info.